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‘Goosebumps’: Klay Thompson harnesses 941 days of hurt to inspire Warriors’ title charge



The 2019 NBA Finals signalled the end of the Golden State Warriors dynasty in the NBA. The Warriors failed to complete a famous three-peat, Kevin Durant decided to take his excellence elsewhere and what hurt Warriors fans the most was that, with 2:22 left in the third quarter of game six, Klay Thompson went down hurt.

On a fast break, led by talisman Steph Curry, the Warriors leaked down the floor. Curry threw the ball toward the onrushing Thompson. As he attempted a two-hand dunk he was met from behind by the Toronto Raptors’ Danny Green attempting to block the shot. It was a perfectly acceptable basketball play from Green but as Thompson fell and lay on the floor, the pain was evident.

Fast-forward 940 days, Thompson had still yet to return to the court. The California native was set to be back in action in November 2020 but a torn Achilles put an end to this, continuing Thompson’s run of bad luck. However, on day 941 out, Thompson was now ready to return.

The Chase Center. The Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors and Klay Thompson. The stage was set for Klay Day and all those in attendance were treated to something special.

Steph Curry, who earlier this year became the leader for three pointers in NBA history, was taken aback by the reception Thompson received.

Klay Thompson reacts after scoring on a three-point shot against the Cavaliers

(Getty)

Curry said: “The moment delivered for sure. I got goose bumps on the other side of the court.”

The first possession of the game for the Warriors saw the ball end up in Klay’s hands. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said, “I drew the first up play… for him to catch it and move it on.” Although, it didn’t end up the way Kerr had designed.

Thompson received the ball from Andrew Wiggins, lost his defender and ran to the rim. He finished the move with an extremely tough layup surrounded by Cavs defenders. It was a dream start to his comeback. Kerr admitted: “I should have known better,” referencing Thompson’s desire to not simply, “move it on.”

Thompson’s teammates, particularly Curry, seemed very eager to force the man on his comeback into finding his rhythm as they were feeding the ball to the 31-year-old on almost every possession. This was evident from Curry’s unusually poor decision making with the rock as he threw back-to-back turnovers when trying to find his fellow Splash Bro.

As a result, Thompson’s 100 per cent start from the floor quickly disappeared.

“Gosh, it was fun. It was worth every single day of being away,” Thompson said.

“I did not shoot as well as I wanted to. But I’m just so happy I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there.”

The 6’6” shooting guard ended up going 7-18 from the field with 3-8 from three-point territory, which is obviously below par for the efficient, quick-firing Thompson.

However, by shooting 18 times from the field it shows the character of the man making his return. He wasn’t going to hide and ease his way back into the game but welcomed the responsibility of being back in the line-up and being back in the NBA.

The Warriors’ 30-10 record is the joint-best in the NBA, alongside the Phoenix Suns, and with Klay Thompson back in the starting five, it is likely to only get better. Nobody would have predicted this to be the case but with Draymond Green’s defence, Steph Curry doing Steph Curry things and now the boost of his returning Splash Bro, could the Golden State Warriors go all the way again?



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