In the 941 days since Klay Thompson last played in an nba game, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States, there was insurrection by domestic terrorists, we lost the great Kobe Bryant, the NBA had a four-month pandemic stoppage and played a postseason in a bubble at Disney World, Rajon Rondo has played for three NBA teams and Russell Westbrook has been traded three times.
The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 96-82 but that also seemed secondary because Sunday night Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors , their fans and the NBA finally got what they had been waiting for- Klay Thompson back on an NBA court.
Watching Thompson sit on the bench during player introductions it was evident he was soaking in the moment but there was also the sense that as he sat there Thompson was saying “finally this moment is here.” Providing a bit of speculative psychoanalysis, for over two years he sat on the bench during points in his recovery and while that , being around the team, may have been what Klay needed, but to be that tantalizingly close to that which was taken away must have been agonizing.
Watching Klay sitting on the bench during his time away the look he had and his demeanor could often be characterized as wistful dolor. Having overcome all of that, it was expected that Thompson would be amped up even more and early on that certainly was the case, as he missed six of his first eight shots, but one of the males was a monster throwdown.
He seemed to have settled in the third quarter, knocking down four consecutive shots in a more Klay like pattern, even hitting a baseline fall away off his own dribble. Thompson finished with 17 points on 7/18 from the floor, including 3/8 from downtown. Klay looked very good in terms of his movement on the court, which considering the amount of time he was out and the injuries is amazing and a true testament to his perseverance and the work he put in to get back. The game itself has a 2015 feel to it and it had nothing to do with the fact the Warriors were playing the Cavaliers. There was a different energy in the building that was even palpable watching on television. It was felt around the league with many current and formers players expressing their enjoyment for Klay’s return , in an outpouring of positivity for a single player’s achievement reminiscent of what was seen when Derrick Rose dropped 50 a few seasons back. The NBA got better last night and will remain so as long as Klay Thompson remains in it.