Basketball: “Hooray for me,” Klay Thompson exclaimed, astonished to be dunking on an opponent in his first game back with the Golden State Warriors in 941 days.
Thompson made his long-awaited return on Sunday night, scoring 17 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one block in 20 minutes of action to help the Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-82.
It was his first appearance since tearing his ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, and his recuperation had been hampered further when he ruptured his right Achilles prior to his expected return in the 2020-21 season.
His first bucket in nearly two years was a paint-driving floater with the hang-time and body adjustment of a player who had never been away. And the Warriors treated him as if he had never been away, with the 31-year-old directing their first points of the night.
Whereas some might have frowned at the prospect of a possibly bumpy landing, the Warriors star appeared to be as relaxed and at ease as he has been in a long time.
On Sky Sports’ Heat check, three-time NBA champion BJ Armstrong remarked, “I’ve gotten to know Klay a little bit over the years and let me tell you something, he’s never scared.” “There’s one thing about Klay. Klay is in his element when he’s on the field, and you can tell he’s worked hard behind the scenes. Now we know what we were doing, performing his rehab, and what he was doing in the dark.
“Because he laid it out there on the line when he got out there under the bright lights.” Klay walked out there as if he hadn’t missed a beat; it was a spectacular return, and I was ecstatic.
“I was very delighted for him because you could see there were a lot of dark days behind those smiles to get to this point.”
I simply hope he keeps playing and gets stronger, but more importantly, I believe he was prepared.
“His teammates were ecstatic to see him succeed. Steph Curry was rushing up and down the floor cheering for Klay Thompson, so I’m hoping he didn’t get hurt. What do you think about this? They call a play for Klay on the first play of the game, and he shoots in the first minute.”
Thompson continued his recovery on Tuesday night, scoring 14 points, grabbing three rebounds, and dishing out three assists in 20 minutes of Golden State’s 116-108 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, who set a team milestone with their 10th consecutive win.
Few have been happier to see him return than Steph Curry, who credited Thompson with driving him to become the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made, an accomplishment he accomplished against the New York Knicks in December while Klay was still working with the Warriors’ G League team in Santa Cruz.
“I wouldn’t be the shooter I am if I didn’t get to witness Klay do what he does every single day,” Curry said. “He keeps you fresh and recognises that there is another guy who can shoot the ball the way I want to.”
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