Klay Thompson says 2023 Heat inspire Warriors: ‘We’re capable of a run like that’

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson said that the Warriors draw inspiration from the 2022-23 iteration of the Miami Heat, who went on to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals despite beginning the playoffs as the conference’s No. 8 seed.

“We take a lot of motivation from the Heat last year who had to play two play-in games and made it all the way to the Finals,” Thompson said. “I think we’re capable of a run like that. We obviously can’t look ahead, but whatever happens, we will be ready. We know that it can be done. There is no task too tall for us.”

In the first round of the 2023 playoffs, the Heat took on the Milwaukee Bucks, who ended the regular season with the NBA’s top record at 58-24. But Miami made quick work of Milwaukee, as the Heat eliminated the Bucks in five games thanks in large to a herculean effort from Jimmy Butler.

Butler put together perhaps the best playoff series of his career against the Bucks. He averaged 37.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game on 59.7 percent shooting from the floor and 44.4 percent from 3-point range.

In Game 4 of the series, Butler dropped a whopping 56 points, and the NBA world subsequently reacted to his incredible performance.

The Heat’s second and third playoff adversaries in the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics were more challenging opponents for Miami than the Bucks were. It took six games for Miami to eliminate the Knicks and seven games to eliminate the Celtics despite the fact that the Heat led the series 3-0 at one point in time.

But Miami’s magical playoff run ended just short of a title, as the team lost to the Denver Nuggets in five games in the 2023 NBA Finals.

The Warriors are currently in a similar position to the Heat from a season ago. Golden State has debatably underperformed during the regular season and projects to have to play in the play-in tournament in order to secure a playoff berth.

But what’s important to acknowledge is that the Western Conference is chock-full of great teams. Four teams in the Minnesota Timberwolves, Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers already have 50-plus wins on the season, and more teams could reach the 50-win mark before the regular season comes to an end.

While Golden State’s extensive playoff experience indicates that the team could surprise some people in the playoffs, the odds will be stacked against the Warriors to reach the NBA Finals.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.