Their Words, Their Plays: Klay Thompson’s record 37 points in a quarter

(January 23, 2020)

“Klay 37”

You know you had a historic night when any serious NBA fan can identify it with a mere name and number.

On January 23, 2015, Klay Thompson poured in an NBA-record 37 points in one quarter. This record might be broken someday, but I very much doubt it will be broken on perfect shooting, with Klay making 13 shots, 9 threes and 2 free throws without a miss.

We are celebrating the fifth anniversary by sharing this ambitious video, a labor of love. We integrate a video analysis of that night’s plays with commentary from the participants (Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Steve Kerr and Klay Thompson) from their interviews after the game. We hope the quotes will give context and flavor to the video and the video will illuminate the gameplay discussed in the quotes.

The Game Feed

The first third of Klay’s points had JB and Fitz noticing Klay was heating up, the middle third had them talking with excitement and disbelief, the final third was basically uncontrollable giggling. It built up slowly like a dream that kept getting better and better. It lets the whole performance build more.

More Notes From Game Night

Here are my notes from the game thread that night at Golden State of Mind:

  1. Klay didn’t even take a shot until two minutes in, and the game was actually tied. The Ws were playing badly. Then…

  2. The W’s D was outstanding during Klay’s hot streak. Even though Klay was beyond hot, a LOT of the points were in transition.

  3. Mosdl found this video of Klay’s shots along with entertaining writeup:  . The video is required viewing for all Warriors fans. Hourly.

  4. If you can, find the whole live broadcast of Klay’s quarter. [Linked above]

  5. The first 15 points were good shots, the next 15 were like a long heat check where you start taking more and more ridiculous shots and they keep going in, and the rest of the points were actual plays the Ws ran to get an exhausted Klay more shots for the record… 

    Here’s a quick breakdown:

    1. Grungy drive to midrange shot.

    2. Transition 3 from top of the key.

    3. Transition 3 feed from Curry.

    4. Transition Curry alley-oop to Klay dunk with one handed finish. Beautiful.

    5. Off the dribble, defender inexplicably playing off Klay.

    6. THE HEAT CHECK COMMENCES.

    7. Klay-Bogut pick and roll busted, Dray resets to Klay about six feet behind the line, level with the middle of the Oracle Arena logo. Klay calls for a pick and then says, SCREW THAT I’M KLAY and launches.

    8. Klay comes off a double screen loop for an fading contested 3.

    9. Klay gets an away screen from Lee which only sort of works, but that’s okay, Klay only sort of needs a screen. Contested 3. Miss, but the ball takes a big shooter’s bounce and God pushes it in.

    10. Ws running into the play… A heat check drive… Klay drives on 4 Kings and finger rolls.

    11. Curry finds Klay on fast break spotted up for a 3 a couple of feet behind the arc.

    12. Bored with being KLAY SMASH, he does a perfect Kobe impression: keeps the ball, drives by 3 defenders (playing 1 on 5), drives to the Kobe spot at the elbow and throws in a twisting Kobe elbow jumper.

    13. FATIGUE SETTING IN, but Ws still trying to set him up for the record.

    14. Curry force feeds Klay in the corner in a terrible spot, sort of sets a screen for him. Klay’s defender thinks, is that really Curry screening me? I’m going to kick his ass. In the mean time, Klay decides to launch another 3 like a medieval catapult.

    15. Elevator doors. Klay zips up the paint between Green and Lee, who shut the doors. Another 3. Record.

    16. Klay adds a couple of FTs on what should have been a 4 point play.

    17. Game is over now. Klay took it from a tie game to a blowout in just a few minutes.


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