NBA small forward Klay Thompson made his long-awaited return to the Golden State Warriors last night, dropping 17 points on 7-for-18 shooting and three treys in a 96-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The 5x All-Star and 2016 3-Point Contest winner pushed through his two-and-a-half-year layoff from a couple of severe injuries (ACL and Achilles tendon ruptures). He received a well-deserved standing ovation from the 18,064 at Chase Center as he was announced in the starting lineup.
“I will never forget the reception that Warriors fans gave us, especially myself,” Thompson said, according to ESPN. “Gosh it was fun, and it was worth every single day of being away and in that squat rack or on that shuttle board and all the conditioning days. It was worth every single moment.”
When Thompson was asked how he felt about the evening, the 3x NBA champ replied, “I am not going to say equivalent to winning a championship… But man, it was pretty freaking close.”
“The first four shots [Klay] made, I had to catch myself,” said Thompson’s longtime running mate and “Splash Brothers” partner Steph Curry. “It felt like the game. Everybody was going nuts.” Known as one of the most prolific shooting backcourts in NBA history, Curry and Thompson are widely regarded for maintaining their accuracy even when taking a high volume of field goal attempts.
Curry went 10-for-21 over the course of 37 minutes but only had three more field goal attempts and makes than Thompson, who played 17 fewer minutes than Curry. “That is so Klay Thompson,” said the 2x MVP when asked about his buddy’s quick return to form.
The peak of Thompson’s comeback occurred in the second quarter, though. With under three minutes remaining in the period, he drove past Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen to flush a one-handed jam over Lauri Markkanen and Dylan Windler. “To know that I can still do that [dunk] and being able to just get to my spots and rise up and shoot?” Thompson said about the slam. “It’s only up from here.”
Social media is thrilled about Klay’s return to basketball and what it means for the Warriors’ title run.
Let’s see what Twitter had to say.
Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty