Klay Thompson's 35 points and tireless defensive work up against Houston Rockets star James Harden on Saturday helped Golden State Warriors set up game seven of the Western Conference finals, leaving Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to marvel at their team-mate's calmness under pressure.
The reigning champions were trailing by 17 points after the opening quarter at Oracle Arena and facing the prospect of missing out on the NBA Finals for the first time in four seasons.
But Thompson, together with 29 points from a slow-starting Curry, dragged the Warriors back on course, with a 115-86 victory ensuring the series will be decided in Texas on Monday.
"It's why he is who is he," Curry said of Thompson, a four-time All-Star shooting guard.
"And he's just kind of numb to the environment. I know he's excited to play basketball, whether it's game two of the regular season or game six of the Western Conference finals.
"But he's confident in himself and what he can do out on the floor at both ends. He's never seen a shot he doesn't like. When you have that kind of recipe mixed in good things do happen, and usually at the right time."
This— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 27, 2018
Durant added: "Well, he's a top-level athlete. He's got good genes, he should thank his mum and dad for that. It also comes from him just loving the game, loving to play and loving these moments, he just took full advantage of it.
"It's definitely inspiring to every basketball player out there. He loves to play every single day, no matter what, he still has that childlike joy."
Thompson, 28, claimed it has taken time to find the right blend between competitive passion and accepting his fate when results go against him.
"I was not always like this," he said.
"I used to be so hard on myself, especially early in my career. I remember one time actually losing a game against the Nuggets and leaving the arena in my uniform I was so mad.
"I learned, as I get older, if you play with passion, you play hard, and you leave the game saying I gave everything I have tonight in those 48 minutes, you can live with the result."
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