The Golden State Warriors choked. One of them did, anyway.
Thompson's eyes watered and he coughed for a bit as he touched his throat. It was a momentary setback, nothing compared to what the Clippers experienced in a 109-105 loss Saturday to Golden State in a playoff opener.
The Warriors were supposed to get beat without shot-blocking rebounder Andrew Bogut. The script called for their fade after Andre Iguodala somehow picked up his fourth foul midway through the second quarter.
Even their coach said beforehand he would pick against them if he was still in the broadcast booth.
Score one for an upset and one for semi-embattled Coach Mark Jackson, who still pushed the underdog undercurrent after the game.
"Survey says we're not supposed to be here," Jackson said, apparently making a "Family Feud" reference. "I'm not supposed to be coaching. Got no experience. Steph Curry's supposed to be retired because of his ankle. David Lee was a loser. Jermaine O'Neal's supposed to be finished."
He mentioned a few other players and their alleged shortcomings, none of which were displayed at Staples Center.
Green had seven points. Seven rebounds. Seemingly nothing special.
But he drew a foul while boxing out Darren Collison for an offensive rebound with 24 seconds left and made two free throws for a 107-105 lead.
Then he played physical defense on Chris Paul, forcing the Clippers guard to lose the ball out of bounds with 18.9 seconds left.
Green added two blocked shots, helping the Warriors exceed their regular-season average (five per game) by one despite Bogut sitting out with a cracked rib.
"Just a gamer, a gamer, an absolute gamer," Jackson said.
The Warriors looked absolutely gameless early, burning through two timeouts on the way to a 12-1 deficit.
Then Clippers fans couldn't get enough of Iguodala's unusual foul trouble, holding up four fingers and shaking them in jubilation when he headed to the bench with 5:46 left in the second quarter.
What the Warrior was going on?
"I'm all in. I've got nothing to lose," Jackson said as a reason for keeping Iguodala in the game with three fouls.
Iguodala eventually fouled out with only eight points but the Warriors got the most out of some unexpected names.
Lee was typically solid in points (20) and rebounds (13), but someone needed to pick up for Stephen Curry, an All-Star who had 14 points on six-for-16 shooting and committed seven turnovers.
O'Neal, an annual All-Star in his Indiana Pacers days, dropped 10 years off his age Saturday and scored 13 points. Hot-and-cold second-year player Harrison Barnes hit a late three-pointer that was called a game-turner by both teams.
Oh, and the Warriors nailed the Clippers on the boards, 48-42, primarily because Blake Griffin was in foul trouble but secondarily because of 22 rebounds from mid-sized swingmen Thompson, Barnes and Green.
"I'm sure that's not how they envisioned starting the series," Curry said of the Clippers. "But it's how we envisioned starting the series."