Klay Thompson has 17 points in return, Warriors beat Cavasso

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Klay Thompson couldn’t wait to get his first shot after more than 2 1/2 years.

Thompson’s run in 40 seconds into Golden State’s 96-82 win over Cleveland on Sunday night was a sign that the five-time All-Star is feeling fine—even if coach Steve Kerr has prepared the play for someone else.

“He wasn’t shy, was he?” Kerr said. “Not that we’d ever expect Kel to be shy. I didn’t make the first play out for him but to catch and pursue him. I had to get to know better.”

Thompson finished with 17 points in his return from two devastating injuries in a night when he was the toast of San Francisco.

Thompson was 7 out of 18 off the field and 3 out of 8 from the 3-point boundary. He added three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 20 minutes, leaving the court with a rumble of “Kel! Clay!” From the crowd of the Chess Center.

For the first play? Thompson said he couldn’t help himself.

“I was so excited that I saw an alleyway to the basket that I just took the chance,” Thompson said. “After that I thought it would be one of those nights where I could faint. I didn’t shoot as well as I wanted but I’m so glad I could even look at the stat sheet and see my name there It’s been a long time. I wouldn’t call it the equivalent of winning a championship but it was pretty close.

Stephen Curry had 29 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Jordan Poole added 14 points for Golden State. The Warriors broke a two-game losing streak to level the Phoenix at 30-9 for the NBA lead.

Lamar Stevens had 17 points and four rebounds for Cleveland.

Thompson missed 941 days and had not played since tearing an ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto. While rehabbing from surgery for that injury, he tore his right Achilles tendon on his own in November 2020.

The five-time All-Star finally made his much-anticipated return, reaching two career milestones – 12,000 points and 1,800 3-pointers.

At one point Thompson put the crowd on their feet when he went around a defender near the 3-point line and scored on a snarling dunk. On his way back to midcourt, Thompson blinked and patted his chest. Moments later he made his first 3-pointer to go over the 12,000 mark and put the Warriors up 49-41.

“He’s talking about how he feels and what’s going to be the last thing to come back, and that was the answer,” Curry said of Thompson’s sting. “It was wonderful to watch and obviously the building was going crazy from start to finish.”

After spending time on a stationary bicycle, Thompson started the third quarter and made three consecutive shots, including his 1,800th 3-pointer.

“I tried to imagine this moment for years,” Thompson said. “I’m excited to get it out of the way right now and I can get back in the rhythm of things. It’s incredible. It’s worth every second.”

a favor for a friend

Drummond Green injured his calf during the warm-up, but convinced Golden State’s coaching staff to allow him to introduce him to the starting lineup as a tribute to Thompson.


Cavaliers: Isaac Okoro missed his third straight game due to a sprained left elbow.

Warriors: Golden State have won 10 straight against Cleveland. … some courtside seats sold for over $20,000.


Cavaliers: Monday Night in Sacramento.

Warriors: Tuesday night in Memphis.


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