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Sir Charles calls out KD and Russ for their Game 6 loss “They were like ‘I want people to say I’m the reason we won this series’”

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May 28th, 2016 is the day when the rest of the NBA decade was decided; we just didn’t know it yet. The Golden State Warriors were in Oklahoma City, down 3-1, staring at elimination. The 73-9 team was legit outplayed by the Thunder led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook - they had one of the best teams ever on the ropes, and then a meltdown happened. While most people would say Klay Thompson going supernova changed the outcome of the series, Charles Barkley disagrees. 

Selfish

In a game where Steph is 9-22 from the floor and Draymond took 10 shots to drop 12 points, you’d expect to win the game. The Thunder seemed in control, and the Warriors were obviously struggling, but then Game 6 Klay appeared. 

With 41 points and a record-setting 11 threes made, Klay Thompson locked in the 77th best player in NBA history. Thompson played out of his mind, and if you’re ever feeling down and love basketball, just go watch his highlights from this game. 

But Charles Barkley thinks OKC still should’ve won this game and didn’t because of ego. 

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”They get up 3-1 on the Warriors, and they revert back to the way they used to play. The first two rounds of the playoffs, they were unselfish - they just played basketball. When they got up 3-1 I said at halftime, they were up at halftime, and Earnie said ‘What do you think?’ and I said ‘I’m not feeling good right now [for OKC].’

Charles Barkley, The Bill Simmons Podcast

Chuck noticed that KD and Westbrook changed their approach to the game. For years, we listened to Stephen A. and Skip argue about who was Batman and who was Robin. (The correct answer? KD had Batman’s skills, and Russ his attitude.) The main issue with those two was the “your turn my turn” style because Westbrook couldn’t accept the right basketball play was to run everything for KD in crunch time. When Chuck saw them revert to old habits, he knew it was done. 

“Going back to Oklahoma City, in one of the best environments, I said ‘This is their Game 7, they better win.’ Like I said, they were up at halftime, but they played selfish. I said ‘Ooooh s**t Earnie’ and he said ‘You think they’re gonna win?’ and I said ‘They’re not gonna win tonight. They’re going back to heroball.’ They got thought three rounds of the Playoffs with no heroball and the first half of Game 6 they were like ‘I want people to say I’m the reason we won this series,’ and obviously they lost in 7.”

Charles Barkley, The Bill Simmons Podcast

"My next chapter"

OKC didn’t just lose the series; they lost Kevin Durant as well. Later that summer, he decided his next chapter will be playing next to someone much better than Russell Westbrook, who, on top of that, is completely willing not to get the credit and let him drain threes over LeBron to win Finals MVP. 

The magic of Steph Curry isn’t the fact he’s the best shooter ever and one of the best point guards ever. His superpower is the fact he has all the competitiveness of a Russell Westbrook, but he also has the humility and team-first approach of Tim Duncan. But, unlike many who talk the talk, Curry truly understands that there is no I in TEAM. 

The moment he saw Klay was on fire, Steph was cool with Klay “saving his ass,” regardless of what people in barbershops would be talking about him the next day. That’s why he has the jewelry, and Westbrook doesn’t. (Well, that, and being able to shoot the ball.)

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