It's one of the biggest "what ifs" in recent NBA history. It also created a moment Warriors fans will never forget.
While Golden State fans wish they could forget the fall that caused Klay Thompson to tear his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, his two free throws after the injury forever will be nothing short of epic. Though the star shooting guard was writhing in pain on the floor, Thompson believed he could be back in no time.
"I just remember walking off and telling Steve [Kerr], 'I'm just gonna go in the back and hopefully it'll loosen up,'" Thompson during his current trip in China.
Klay Thompson on his ACL injury in the Finals: "Once I went back there and didn't feel the energy of the crowd... I realized I did something pretty significant." pic.twitter.com/rAn6gzkqoz— Chris Montano (@gswchris) September 9, 2019
The power of adrenaline can only take you so far, though. Thompson walked towards the locker room and was even seen jumping and running down the hallway.
That, however, didn't last too long.
"Once I went back there and didn't feel the energy of the crowd or see my teammates or feel that ball in my hands, the adrenaline wears off," Thompson said. "I just realized I did something pretty significant, and although it happened, I can wholeheartedly say that I left my heart out there on the court and tried my hardest.
"Sometimes you come up short in sports."
Before hitting the hardware on a missed dunk attempt, Thompson scored 30 points in 32 minutes. There was 2:22 left in the third quarter at the time of Thompson's injury, and the Warriors led 83-80. He made both of his free throws with a torn ACL, pushing the Warriors' lead to five.
The rest is history.
Would the Warriors have won if Klay didn't get hurt? What would have happened in a Game 7? We'll never know, but Thompson will always have two of the most memorable free throws in NBA history to his name.