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OAKLAND - Let's start with Klay Thompson, the Warriors' "other" starting guard. Not that there's anything other or lesser about him.

He destroyed the Spurs on Wednesday night. Sure, it's a team game and the Warriors did everything right. But, come on, Thompson destroyed the Spurs. He sank seven of eight 3-pointers in the first half, the most beautiful form you'll see on a jumper, everything going swish. It was total beauty leading to total destruction.

Right after the Warriors drafted him two years ago, he came to CSN BayArea for interviews, came with his dad Mychal who played 12 years in the NBA and was the first draft pick in 1978, came with his mom Julie who played volleyball at USF. While Klay and Mychal were on the set, I sat with Julie in the Green Room, just happened to be there at the same time. She seemed worried and I asked why and, as I recall, she said, "Klay is a great player. But he's shy. I'm worried he'll be nervous on television."

She was a mom being a mom. Klay was just fine on TV, and he appears just fine on a basketball court.

He sat in a tall chair — like a barstool — near the wall at the Warriors' gym on Thursday for media interviews, and when I asked if he's famous now, he said, "Not yet."

How did it feel shooting like that in the first half?

"I just felt like Steph Curry out there."


Told of that remark, Curry smiled an embarrassed smile. "He's been shooting the ball all year extremely well," Curry said. "If you take my performance this year out of the equation, his numbers are crazy as well."

Back to Thompson.

Was he in a zone in Game 2?

"You hit a couple and you've got a great rhythm going," he said, "especially when you have wide-open looks. And after you make five or six, you almost got a freebie just to pull up from somewhere. I got a lot of opportunities off offensive rebounds, and that's, honestly, the best time to get 3-pointers up because the defense isn't ready."

After a while, it was just Thompson, TV announcer Jim Barnett and I. I told Thompson he has perfect form on his jump shot.

"Oh, thank you," he said.

"Who taught you?"

"My dad, about third grade, told me to keep my elbow here (Thompson showed the correct position) and use my legs. It kind of came naturally from there."

"He does his footwork early," Barnett said. "When you throw Klay the ball, he anticipates. So he catches it, left foot, right foot, up. (Barnett demonstrated.) He's in perfect position every time. (Wednesday) night no one could have stopped him."

No one did.

Come along with me to coach Mark Jackson, who sat on his own barstool. Jackson got right to his backcourt, Thompson and Curry. "Those two are great, great shooters," he said.

Someone mentioned he had called Curry and Thompson the best shooting backcourt in history.

"Thank you," Jackson said in his orator's voice. "I watched ESPN. They said I said it's the greatest backcourt ever. Stop it. I mean, come on. I said they are the greatest shooting backcourt ever. Please get it right, ESPN.

"When I do say that, to me, it's not even close. There are some very good or great shooting backcourts. I've seen other backcourts where there was a great shooter and a good shooter or an OK shooter. These two guys are great shooters. I'm not saying anything else about them."

Who were the great shooting backcourts before Curry and Thompson?

Jackson paused, trying to say this right. "There's people, old school, who said Jerry West and Gail Goodrich. With all due respect, I watched those guys and both were good shooters. These two guys are in a class with the all-time great shooters."

Note to self: Jerry West was not an all-time great shooter. Really? Is the Earth also flat?

Jackson went on to name all-time great shooters: Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Larry Bird, Chris Mullin, Dell Curry and Dale Ellis.

"I'm not saying anything about (Curry and Thompson) as players," he said. "Just the ability to shoot the basketball. If these two guys make eight out of 10 in a gym by themselves, they're upset."

It's clear Jackson puts his starting backcourt in exalted company. And then he delivered an electric jolt, off the point of the backcourt, but something you want to read.

Someone asked Jackson about the Andrew Bogut trade. "It has changed the culture," Jackson said. "Obviously, it was easier to pull the trigger because we knew what we had in Klay, and it was time for him to be a starting 2 guard."

How did it change the culture?

Long pause. Really long. Jackson finally said, half laughing, "You know."

Well, now we know. It was something about Monta Ellis — they traded him for Bogut. Ellis was not in keeping with the new culture. As Jackson said, you know.

And now we look at tonight's game and we look long-term at the series. The Spurs cannot guard Curry or Thompson. That's obvious. The Spurs have not shot 3s like the Warriors, and continually trade their 2s for the Warriors' 3s, and that's killing San Antonio. And the Warriors are younger, faster, more athletic.

It's just that the Spurs are the Spurs, and it is reckless to dismiss them. Curry and Thompson could go cold in a game, and the Spurs' shooters could start hitting 3s. We don't know.

Let's just say the Warriors have a great chance to win. From what we've seen, they should win. But please stop short of saying they will win. When it comes to writing this novel, I am not the omniscient narrator and neither are you.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.

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