The number 37 will forever be synonymous with Klay Thompson. That's because on January 23, 2015, the Warriors guard set an NBA record for points in a quarter with 37 in the third period of a 126-101 win over the Sacramento Kings at Oracle Arena.
After going 3-for-9 from the floor, and 2-for-5 on three-pointers, in the first half, Thompson, the 24-year-old guard who was three weeks shy of playing in his first All-Star Game, sent the home crowd into a frenzy with a legendary performance.
The scoring binge started with 9:45 left in the third period, when he drove from the right wing to the left side of the key, spinning into a 12-foot jumper that put the Dubs ahead 60-58. The fourth-year pro registered a steal about a minute later, igniting a fast break that he finished with a pull-up three-pointer. And from that point on, Thompson absolutely owned the quarter.
Thompson's 37 points in the quarter came on a perfect 13-for-13 from the field, including 9-for-9 on three-pointers. Those nine triples in a quarter were an NBA record that still stands, and the 13 field goals tied a league record.
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"I was just trying to shoot until I miss," Thompson told Warriors radio broadcaster Tim Roye after the game. "Honestly, I took like four heat checks, but they just kept going in."
Thompson scored 37 of the Warriors' 41 points in the quarter, while the Kings were held to 22 over that stretch. Over the final 3:03 of the quarter, Thompson out-scored Sacramento 18-3.
"I don't know what to tell you. I just got into a zone and it was the best zone I've ever been in," he said.
Less than a week after this out-of-this-world performance, Thompson, who finished the night with what was then a career-high 52 points despite sitting out the last nine-and-a-half minutes of the game, would be named an All-Star for the first time in his career.
How Thompson and his team-mates reacted to his performance
"It's pretty surreal, and really you just feel like every shot you throw - it's the cliché that every shot you're going to throw up is going to go in. That's how it felt. I think that's why I got up 13 shots in the third quarter, just because I was taking a lot of bad shots out there, but I was taking one until I missed, and just got lucky," Thompson said.
"I had, like 50, playing down. I was in fourth grade; I was playing with some third graders too. That is honestly the last time I went on a scoring barrage like that."
Thompson's backcourt partner Stephen Curry said: "I have never seen a shooting display that consistent of just searching for a shot and knocking it down. To go 9-for-9 in a quarter from the three-point line is still unbelievable. I thought I would never see that. Unbelievable.
"They knew at some point that all we were doing was dribbling around trying to get him the ball. It was like Will Smith in Fresh Prince, just dribble around and give him the ball. They still couldn't get there fast enough when he released it. It was beautiful."
"I was one of the luckiest NBA players to play with Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and some of greatest players ever," said Warriors coach Steve Kerr. "As many spectacular things as Michael did, which he did nightly, I never saw him do that. After he made about seven or eight in a row I was just watching his face to see what I could see. I've never seen anyone that zoned in. Just spectacular to watch."
Reflecting on Thompson's feat more than five years after it happened, Kerr doubled down on his comments, telling Wes Goldberg of the Bay Area News Group: "It remains the most amazing experience I've had in my six years of coaching in terms of the connection between the player and the fans and what was happening on the floor. I'm not kidding. I hope this doesn't sound like hyperbole, but it was like a religious experience.
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"It was so incredible to witness a player at the top of his game but also to do it in front of 20,000 fans who were just experiencing it with him and almost willing him to it, and his team-mates, too. That one stands out for me above every experience I've ever felt as a coach and as a player.