Klay says allowing Steph to switch onto Kyrie before Game 7 dagger in 2016 still haunts him

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most iconic games in NBA history came in 2016 in Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors.

As Cavs fans know well, the team battled back from a 3-1 series deficit to claim the title over an incredibly dominant Warriors team.

The moment the Cavs really took control of what had been a back-and-forth Game 7 was when guard Kyrie Irving shot a gutsy 3-pointer over Stephen Curry. The shot connected, and the Cavs took a 92-89 lead with just under a minute left in the game.

In a recent interview, longtime Warriors star Klay Thompson admitted that he is still haunted by the fact that he allowed Curry to switch onto Irving as a defender. At that point in his career, Thompson was a rather strong wing defender. At the very least, his 6-foot-6 frame would have been harder to shoot over for Irving,

“That’s the other biggest regret I have in my basketball career…was switching that pick and roll with Steph with J.R. [Smith] and Kyrie,” Thompson said. “I can’t bring myself to watch that footage. It’s too uncomfortable, you know? You watch yourself, and you’re like, ‘I can’t believe I just gave into that switch.’ Now, Kyrie got one of the greatest shots in NBA history, and I like — Steph’s a great defender too, but I’m just like, ‘Man, I can’t believe I conceded that switch.’ It still burns.”

Thompson continued.

“When I look at the footage, I’m like, ‘That was a pretty weak screen by J.R.,'” Thompson said. “I could have got through.”

Thompson is known for being a fiery competitor despite his typically quiet disposition. The fact that he still kicks himself over a play that took place six years ago is a clear indication of that fact.

Though the 2016 NBA Finals may still burn Thompson, it is not as though he hasn’t enjoyed success since then. He’s currently a defending champion with the Warriors, as the team won the 2022 title. Moreover, he has managed to fight back from two serious injuries and is once again playing solid basketball.

So far this season, he’s averaging 14.0 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting from the field and 34.8 percent shooting from deep. He’s looking to earn his fifth NBA title this season.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Cavaliers Nation.