If anybody wanted to see how Klay Thompson would look in his return with the Golden State Warriors, then look no further. In last night’s 96-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thompson finished with 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting. He made his first basket, first dunk, and a first three-pointer. He shot 3 of 8 from 3, in only 19 minutes.
“I’m just so happy right now,” Thompson said. “I did not shoot as well as I wanted to, but I am just so happy that I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there and all the stats again.”
“That was awesome. I love our Warriors fans. I know they were hurting for me the last two years. That was special. I knew it was going to be electric tonight. I tried to visualize this moment for years really. Gosh it was worth every second. … I am very thankful for that ovation and the love that they showered me. I will never forget that.”
Thompson, who played for the first time in 177 games because of separate ACL and Achilles injuries, also reached a statistical milestone in the win. He also passed 12,000 points and 1,800 made 3-pointers for his career. Only Stephen Curry reached that milestone faster.
After the game, Klay expressed the emotions he felt in his return to game action in the Chase Center.
“I will never forget the reception that Warriors fans gave us, especially myself,” Thompson said. “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.”
Klay added, “I am not going to say equivalent to winning a championship, but man, it was pretty freaking close.” Ironically Thompson last played in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Last night Klay eased the minds of anxious fans as the highlight of the night came from a nasty dunk.
With that dunk, Thompson showed that he still has some of his explosiveness after tearing his left ACL in the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on June 13, 2019, and tearing his right Achilles in November 2020.
Thompson needed only 40 seconds to score his first basket, a driving runner in traffic.
“After that went in, I thought it might be one of those nights where I might be unconscious,” Thompson said.
So far, Klay is starting but on a minutes restriction. Last night he played 19 minutes. Let’s see how dangerous he looks in the Warriors’ next game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.