After Team USA won their semifinal match-up against Spain at the Rio Olympics, a reporter asked Klay Thompson how he would approach the upcoming gold medal game. Without thinking, he responded “like a Game 7,” and you could tell he regretted it almost instantly, knowing that he would catch endless flak for how the Warriors had folded against the Cavs at home in the deciding game of the NBA Finals earlier this summer.
But if this USA Basketball experience was any indication, he has a lot to be optimistic about going into next season after getting an up close and personal view of what it’s like to play alongside a talent like Kevin Durant, who shocked the basketball world when he signed with Golden State in free agency. Still, that reality isn’t enough to take the sting out of that heartbreaking Finals loss. Via Alex Wong of GQ.com:
We added Kevin and I couldn’t be more excited about our future and what could happen, but it’ll take a long time to get over that loss, man. It was hard. Especially being up 3-1, and how good we felt like we were, we controlled our own destiny and we didn’t get it done. But that’s life, it’s basketball, it wasn’t in the cards. It’s going to take a long time to get over that, man. You always think about the one possession that could have changed it. It came down to the last three minutes for us to be back-to-back champions.
Give Cleveland credit: They never gave up, but it’s only going to make us stronger. I’m not going to say [the disappointment] outweighs getting Kevin, because it’s two completely different circumstances. It’s still fresh in my mind to be honest and it will be until we get that opportunity again.
Of course, that’s the lofty goal headed into next season. After a historic 73-9 campaign, the Warriors are somehow expected to be even better with Durant, and anything less than an NBA championship will be viewed as a disappointment. It’s also the only way Thompson or anyone else will finally be able to put that Game 7 meltdown behind them.