Klay Thompson scores 17 points on his NBA comeback after a TWO-AND-A-HALF YEAR injury hell as the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-82
Klay Thompson scored 17 points on his return from two devastating injuries that sidelined him more than two-and-a-half years, helping the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-82 on Sunday night.
Thompson was seven of 18 from the field and three of eight from three-point range. He added three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 20 minutes, walking off the court to a thunderous ovation followed by chants of ‘Klay! Klay!’ from the Chase Center crowd.
The five-time All-Star finally made his much-anticipated return, and reached two career milestones – 12,000 points and 1,800 3-pointers.
Klay Thompson (right) made his NBA return on Sunday after 941 days out due to injuries
Thompson scored 17 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-82
Stephen Curry had 29 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Jordan Poole added 14 points for Golden State. The Warriors snapped a two-game losing streak to tie Phoenix for the NBA lead at 30-9.
Lamar Stevens had 17 points and four rebounds for Cleveland.
Thompson missed 941 days and hadn’t played since tearing the ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto. While rehabbing from surgery for that injury, he tore his right Achilles tendon scrimmaging on his own in November 2020.
His running lay-up 40 seconds into Golden State’s 96-82 victory over Cleveland on Sunday night was a sign that the five-time All-Star is feeling just fine – even if coach Steve Kerr drew up the play for someone else.
‘He wasn’t shy, was he?’ Kerr said. ‘Not that we would ever expect Klay to be shy. I drew up the first play not for him but for him to catch it and move it on. I should have known better.’
‘I was so excited I saw a lane to the basket that I just took the opportunity,’ Thompson said of that first play.
‘After that I thought it was going to be one of those nights where I might be unconscious. I did not shoot as well as I wanted to but I’m so happy I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there. It’s been a long run. I’m not going to say it equivalent to winning a championship but it was pretty close.’
Thompson got off to a slow start but showed plenty of the flash that made him a vital component on Golden State’s three championship teams from 2015-18.
At one point Thompson brought the crowd to its feet when he drove around a defender near the 3-point line and scored on a jarring one-handed dunk. Thompson snarled and pounded his chest as he walked back toward midcourt. Moments later he made his first 3-pointer to go over 12,000 points and put the Warriors up 49-41.
After spending time on a stationary bicycle, Thompson started the third quarter and made three consecutive shots, including his 1,800th.
‘It was just amazing having him out there,’ Curry said on the television broadcast.