Klay Thompson makes triumphant return to Warriors after grueling two-and-a-half-year absence
Thompson scored 17 points in just 20 minutes to put the Warriors on course for a 96-82 win, breaking a two-game losing skid and taking the team to a season-high 30-9 – co-top of the Western Conference with the Phoenix Suns.
Thompson received a heroic welcome from an enthusiastic crowd in San Francisco, lifting the roof of the Chase Center with a driving stop in the first minute.
“It was a very special moment that I will never forget,” Thompson told reporters.
“I will never forget the welcome that Warriors fans gave us, especially myself. My God it was fun and worth it to be away every day and in that squat rack or on this shuttle board and conditioning everyday.
“It was worth every moment. It was a long race – I’m not going to say equivalent to winning a championship. But man, that was pretty close.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr revealed that the first game was not designed for the return of the guard to score, but Thompson was just too stimulated.
“I was so excited to see a hallway leading to the basket that I just grabbed the chance,” said Thompson.
“After that I thought it was going to be one of those nights where I might be oblivious. I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted but I’m so happy I can even look at the stats sheet and see my name there. “
Splash Brothers reunited
Steph Curry, Thompson’s “Splash Brother” – a nickname coined for the devastating power of the three-point pair – led the scoring with a total of 28 points and a four-point three-point record.
Understandably, Thompson’s long-range sights were slightly less calibrated than usual, missing his first three triple attempts, but the guard recovered to go three-for-eight from downtown.
Curry, who warmed up in a Thompson jersey to mark his comeback, was not surprised by his teammate’s immediate impact.
“It’s so Klay Thompson and I love it,” Curry told reporters.
“The funny thing is that the coach had to mention it, we had to mention it before the game – don’t feel like you have to force-feed him because he will find his shots and he certainly didn’t disappoint on that. forehead. “
Lamar Stevens led the scorecard for the visitors with 17 – adding four rebounds and an assist – as the Cavaliers fell to 22-18 for the season.
After a glorious homecoming, Thompson and the Warriors will now prepare for four straight road games – starting with a tough trip to Memphis to face a Grizzlies (28-14) team looking to extend a nine-game winning streak. in a row in the NBA. .