As we turn the page to 2017, it only makes sense to celebrate the top Warriors moments of 2016. The only question is this: what are the top Warriors moments of 2016? That’s where you come in, Dub Nation. The Dubs’ digital team has identified some of the top moments from 2016, and we’re putting it your hands to decide the best of the best.
Coming off a defeat in Game 3 in Portland, Golden State did not want to go home facing a tied series, and Stephen Curry came through when his team needed him most. Playing for the first time since he was injured in Game 4 of the first round series against Houston, Curry scored an NBA-record 17 points in overtime, finishing with 40 as the Warriors rallied to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
Prior to last season, no player in the history of the NBA had ever made more than 286 three-pointers in a single season. Already owning the two highest single-season three-point totals in NBA history at the start of last season, Curry put the exclamation point on the most prolific shooting season known to mankind in the final regular season game of the 2015-16 campaign, splashing home his 400th trey of the year in the opening minute of the second half. He’d go on to make two more threes in the rest of the game, finishing with 402 on the season.
When you do something that’s never been done in the NBA before, you know you’ve done something remarkable. When you do something that no other MVP in the history of the league has done, you’re taking it to a whole different level. That’s exactly what Stephen Curry did in becoming the first-ever unanimous MVP in the history of the NBA last season. The 11th player to win back-to-back MVP awards in the NBA’s 70-season existence, Curry became the first player in league history at any position to average 30 points per game in less than 35 minutes per game, made an NBA-record 402 three-pointers, and joined Steve Nash and his coach, Steve Kerr, as the only players in league history to shoot at least 50 percent from the floor, 45 percent from three-point range and 90 percent from the line in a season.
Durant Signs With Golden State
Kevin Durant provided the ground-shaking moment of the NBA offseason when he announced he was signing with the Warriors as a free agent back in July. The former MVP and four-time scoring leader was introduced at a press conference in front of a packed crowd at the Warriors’ front office headquarters on July 7, at the close of which he summarized, “[I’m] just excited to be a part of this organization and play with these great players and play in front of these unbelievable fans and try to do the best I can as a player to help win games.”
Klay’s Game 6 Heroics
Golden State became the 10th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in seven games in their memorable Western Conference Finals series, and required a legendary performance from Klay Thompson in Game 6 to do so. Thompson made a playoff-record 11 3-pointers and scored 41 points, including 19 points in the fourth quarter alone to help the Warriors overcome an eight-point deficit. “Steph [Curry] told me before I went out in the fourth, ‘This is your time’,” Thompson said. “‘You know, put on a show out there and have fun.’ I took those words to heart, and I just tried to be aggressive.”
Klay Goes For 60
In a 142-106 victory over the Pacers on December 5th, Klay Thompson produced the greatest offensive display the Warriors’ franchise had seen in more than four decades. Thompson scored 60 points on 21-of-33 shooting from the field, 8-of-14 from three-point land and 10-of-11 from the free throw line, all in just 29 minutes of play. In doing so, Thompson became the first player in NBA history to score 60-or-more points in fewer than 30 minutes of playing time. Crazy stat: Thompson only touched the ball 52 times for a total of 88.4 seconds in the victory. All the more impressive, Thompson took a total of 11 dribbles – in the entire game!
Splash Brothers Duel in Three-Point Contest
Golden State possesses perhaps the best shooting backcourt in the history of the game, a theory given more credibility by both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson making the finals of the Three-Point Contest at All-Star Weekend in Toronto. Curry, the reigning champion, advanced to the Finals on his final shot of the first round and put up the highest score of the event; that is, until the other Splash Brother had the last laugh. Klay Thompson dethroned Curry and saved his best for last, finishing with 27 points in the final round to mark the first time in Three-Point Contest history that different players from the same team have won it in consecutive seasons.
Dubs’ Trio Wins Gold in Rio
Only a select number of basketball players can say they’ve won an NBA championship. Even fewer can show off an Olympic gold medal. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were able to claim both, while Kevin Durant became a two-time member of the latter category after all three won Gold as members of Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. The Warriors were the only NBA team with three players on Team USA after not having any representatives on an Olympic team since 1992.