SAN FRANCISCO — It was fair to wonder if Klay Thompson would look like himself after a two-and-a-half-year injury-forced hiatus.
It took less than two quarters of basketball to quell those fears.
Thompson took the Warriors’ first offensive possession to the rack, coming off a perimeter screen, driving through the late, and hitting a fall-away floater over two Cleveland shot blockers.
And while he missed his next five shots, he made up for it with an unforgettable moment at the end of the second quarter.
With three minutes to play in the half, Thompson found himself one-on-one with Cavs center Jarrett Allen.
The Cleveland big man reached.
As Thompson still knows how to teach.
He crossed over and drove to the basket, where he scored a different kind of 3 — dunking it on not one, not two, but three Cleveland defenders.
How’s that for healthy?
“I was amazed at his poise out there, his confidence,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I drew the first play up not for him but for him to catch it and move it on… I should have known better.”
Yes, Thompson is back, and outside of some early-game jitters, he played as if he was never gone, scoring 17 points in less than 20 minutes, putting up 18 shots in the process.
“That is so Klay Thompson and I freaking love it,” Curry said of the barrage of shots.
Of course, Thompson had been out so long, it’s somewhat easy to forget how he played — the rhythms and machinations of an all-time great.
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At the same time, the data that was collected on Sunday was cloudy. The palpable excitement in Chase Center — the place was buzzing — was manifest on the court in Thompson’s play, particularly early in the contest, when he appeared to be rushing shots between those two great plays at the rim.
But can you blame the guy for being caught up in the moment? Can you expect him to be comfortable with NBA speed after years away?
Of course not.
The game seemed to slow down a bit for Thompson after that highlight dunk. He knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game late in the second quarter, the first of four straight makes.
The dunk in traffic.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports
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