Video: Richard Jefferson and his Clevland Cavalier Teammates Were "Praying" the Oklahoma City Thunder won the WCF in 2016
If Men in Black could use their neuralyzer on Thunder fans, most would like to have the date July 4th, 2016 wiped from their memories. A close second would be May 28th, of that same year.
On that date, the Thunder went from being an organization that would make its second finals appearance in four seasons to a team that was watching the end of the era. Klay Thompson will remember May 28th, 2016, for as long as he lives because that is the night he destroyed Kevin Durant's psyche.
Thompson scored 41 while hitting 11 threes during game six of the Western Conference Finals, helping Golden State to a 108-101 win. A victory that would even the best of seven at three games apiece. Two days later, the Warriors would eliminate the Thunder 96-88 in Oakland.
Thursday on ESPN's The Jump former Cavalier Richard Jefferson told Rachel Nichols, "I remember watching that game with my teammates in Cleveland, and we were praying that Oklahoma City won." ..."We did not want to face the 73 win team that had just beat us earlier on Christmas Day." ..."Klay Thompson, he didn't just rip the hearts out of Oklahoma City; he was just punching us all the way across the country."
Zach Lowe chimed in reminding us that after one of Thompson's threes, Steve Kerr turned to the Thunder fans behind him and started laughing. Lowe says, "Not only did he [Thompson] rip the Thunder fans' hearts out he kind of ripped KD out of the Thunder."
Lowe points out that if the Thunder had won that game, NBA history would have been drastically different. Jefferson poured more salt in Oklahoma City's wound "NBA history's different because then we end up beating Oklahoma City instead of Golden State for the championship." Ouch!
It's hard to blame Jefferson for being cocky the Cavaliers were 2-0 vs. Oklahoma City that season, and 0-2 against the Warriors, plus LeBron James had owned Durant since the 2012 finals.
For the Thunder, 2016 could have been catastrophic. Instead, it was only traumatic for Durant, who left to join Thompson and his merry band of homewreckers.
Sam Presti has been able to keep the Thunder relevant though the loss of its two cornerstone stars if anything the Summer of our discontent fortified the Thunder's will to stay competitive.