After two and a half years, the return of Klay Thompson: “I can only think … Wow!”

Not playing since June 13, 2019, the Golden State star returns and resumes the scene with 17 points in 20 ‘in the win over Cleveland. “An evening that I will never forget”

Davide Chinellato

@dchinellato

It was his day, the one he waited for two and a half years. And Klay Thompson enjoyed it all, from the announcement of the formations in which the fans who have idolized him for 11 years returned to roar his name to the final siren, when everything seemed normal, it seemed real. “I learned that there is always light at the end of the tunnel, that hard times pass but real people stay” said the 31-year-old with a smile perpetually printed on his face and the eye that continually falls on that scoreboard on the table of the pressroom. Golden State-Cleveland 96-82 on January 9, 2022 in Chase Center, San Francisco. The one that says that after two and a half years of suffering, Klay Thompson is really back: with 17 points, including 3 three-pointers and a dunk. With 18 attempts in 20 ‘on the court: “It’s the usual Klay” laughed at Steph Curry, the best of his with 26 points in a match that the Warriors won by dominating in defense in the second half.

The light at the end of the tunnel

“It was worth it. Every single moment of rehabilitation was worth it to go back to living a moment like this “. Klay does not stop telling her, her night. When he entered the parquet for the pre-match warm-up, the fans praised him as you do with great heroes. “It was like seeing a movie you love, where you know the protagonist is doing something extraordinary. I almost cried, ”Kevon Looney confessed. “I’m not saying it was like winning the titles, but it comes really close – says Klay -. I’m happy just to be able to compete again, but I’m proud of myself for never giving up. There have been times when I’ve doubted myself: when you have serious injuries like mine, it takes a long time to even build muscle, and then you start wondering if you can do the things you did before again. And I doubted, I wondered what I would be. Getting back on the pitch and shooting, playing defense, playing basketball which is the thing I love the most, it was really special and gave a whole other meaning ”.

Crush and defense

Curry let him be the last to be called when the lineups were announced. And Klay stayed on the bench a moment longer than usual, to savor what was happening to him. “Wow. That’s all I could think about, how incredible what was happening was – says Thompson -, how much what I went through was worth going through “. In the quintet there is also Draymond Green: in the warm-up he accused a resentment in his left calf and cannot play, but he wants to be there. “It’s fantastic what he did, I can’t wait to get back on the pitch with him,” says Klay. Kerr does not draw the first pitch for him and repeats to his team in the pre-match that there is no need to turn everything around the star upon returning. But with the first action, Thompson takes the stage: he sees an opening in the Cleveland defense, he throws himself into it and attacks the iron closing with a layup. It is his first basket of the evening, but not the best: that is the dunk at 2’56 “from the interval, when the euphoria passes and everything begins to seem” normal “. Chase Center explodes. “I thought it would be an evening where the ball comes in just by looking at it, but I’m happy just to read the scoresheet and see that my name is on it. I’m happy, really happy ”. The more minutes pass (Kerr gives him 4 blocks of 5 ‘), the more Thompson looks like him. Especially in the third period, when the triples come in and Klay helps to dig the decisive furrow. Victory is the icing on the cake of a magical match, “I’ll never forget it”.

The future

Thompson gives the Warriors a new dimension, but it’s still too early to figure out which one. “Now that I have played, that I have touched the ball, that I have put in shots and defended, I can see a future in which I help this team to win the title, the goal we have set for ourselves since the beginning of the season – says Thompson -. I know what it takes, as my teammates know it ”. More games and other exams will be needed to understand how much the Splash Brother can really make a difference when he returns, how long it will take him to return to being the phenomenon he was when he stopped on June 13, 2019, in game-6 of the Finals against Toronto. when he was a 20-point-a-game star who could stop the most dangerous opponent, whoever he was. “We have more than half a season to figure out what we can be, to figure out how to do it,” recalls Curry. For now, the only thing that matters is that Klay is back, that he has put on his number 11 shirt that hung in the locker room for two and a half years, that he is back to being a player. “I’m happy, I can go home, look at myself playing and figure out how to improve”. Klay is back, that’s all that counts for now.

Golden State: Curry 28 (6/10 of two, 4/11 of three, 4/4 free throws), Thompson 17 (4/10, 3/8), Poole 14. Rebounds: Looney 18. Assists: Curry 5, Iguodala 5.

Cleveland: Stevens 17 (8/11, 1/1 tl), Rondo 15, Allen 12. Rebounds: Allen 7, Love 7. Assist: Rondo 5.

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After two and a half years, the return of Klay Thompson: “I can only think … Wow!”

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