Klay Thompson’s return can’t come soon enough.
The last time we saw Thompson on a basketball court was Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He suffered a torn ACL in that game, marking him throughout the 2019-20 season. He then ruptured his Achilles tendon before the 2020-21 season, setting him aside for another full season.
It appears that Thompson is getting closer to speaking again, with the same star guard claiming that he could be back in “the next few weeks, maybe a month.” on Instagram live recently.
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We can only hope that Thompson returns as close to full strength as possible because prior to his injuries, he was one of the most explosive scorers and electrifying talents in the league.
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3 in 3 in 3 in 3
In 2003, Kobe Bryant set a new NBA record by making 12 3-pointers in a single game. Two years later, Donyell Marshall tied that record.
Bryant and Marshall’s record stood for more than a decade. Stephen Curry tied it at the end of the 2015-16 season, only to break it with 13 3-pointers near the start of the 2016-17 season.
Then Thompson outpointed his Splash Brother on October 29, 2018 with 14 3-pointers in a win over the Bulls.
Thompson finished the game with 52 points on 18 of 29 shots from the field and 14 of 24 shots from 3, all in, wait, 26 minutes to go. (Thompson took a seat on the bench with 4:53 left in the third quarter and never came back with the game nearly over.) Ten of his 3s came in the first half, tying a Chandler Parsons record for the most 3s in a half.
Oh and Thompson just took nine dribbles.
“For NBA history, you have it!”
Two years ago today @KlayThompson he became the first and only player in league history to score 14 3-pointers in one game. pic.twitter.com/XGdLtK1tqr
– Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 29, 2020
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Dribble only when necessary
On January 8, 2019, Thompson scored a game-high 43 points in a win over the Knicks, with 18 of 29 shooting from the field and 7 of 16 from 3-point range.
The craziest part of all this? He did only four dribbles.
In perspective, there were a total of 66 players who averaged at least four dribbles each time they touched the ball in the 2020-21 season.
For Thompson to score 43 points with fewer dribbles than some players use on a single possession … unreal.
Klay Thompson lost 43 PTS tonight. Furthermore, he only dribbled the ball 4 times.
4 TIMES. 😱#DubNation pic.twitter.com/TiKobrQcCK
– NBA TV (@NBATV) Jan 9, 2019
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A room for the record books
Everyone who played for the Kings in the 2014-15 season probably believes in the hot hand theory, because they had front row seats for Thompson to turn into a human flamethrower in the middle of an NBA game.
Thompson not only lit up the Kings with 52 points, but he scored 37 points in the third quarter alone, setting the NBA record for points scored in a single quarter previously held by Kevin Love.
Thompson made even more history by shooting a perfect 13 of 13 from the field and 9 of 9 from the perimeter in the period, tying the NBA record for field goals made in a quarter and breaking the record for 3-pointers in a quarter.
“I was one of the luckiest NBA players to play with Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and some of the greatest players ever,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “For many spectacular things that Michael did, that he did every night, I never saw him do that.”
Klay Thompson actually scored 37 points in a single quarter.
💧9 / 9 3PT
💧13 / 13 FG
💧PTS record in a room
💧Record 3 seconds in a quarter
💧FG record in a quarter (tied) pic.twitter.com/RFD4wtEvhj
– Bleach Report (@BleacherReport) May 12, 2020
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You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
Everyone who played for the Lakers in the 2018-19 season probably also believed in the hot hand theory.
In a resounding victory over the Lakers, Thompson scored 44 points on 10 of 11 shooting from the perimeter. He started the game shooting a perfect 10 of 10 from 3-point range before failing his only 3-point attempt of the night with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.
By making 10 3s in a row, Thompson tied the NBA record for consecutive 3s to start the game.
🔥🔥 @KLAYTHOMPSON IN YOUR AREA! 🔥🔥
the @Warriors The shooting guard (44 PTS) ties the NBA record of 3PM for starting a game without fail, hitting his first 10 three-point attempts! #DubNation pic.twitter.com/3m67HL5ytM
– NBA (@NBA) Jan 22, 2019
Want to guess who Thompson shares the record with? No, not Curry. Neither did Ray Allen. Not Damian Lillard, James Harden or Duncan Robinson.
The answer is…
Ty Lawson, believe it or not.
The first to do it
How is this for the story? Thompson is the only player to score 60 points while playing less than 30 minutes, according to Stathead.
In a victory over the Pacers on December 5, 2016, Thompson posted a career-high 60 points on 21 of 33 shooting from the field and 8 of 14 from 3-point range while recording just 29 minutes. With the Warriors leading by 33 points after three quarters of a game, Thompson watched the entire fourth quarter on the bench.
Thompson’s dribble count? eleven. So more than five, but not much.
S / O to my squad for preparing 2night! I don’t think I had to take more than 5 dribbles in the whole game hahaha
– klay thompson (@KlayThompson) December 6, 2016
Additionally, Thompson had the ball in his possession for a total of 90 seconds in his 29 minutes on the court.
Highest night of Klay’s career (12/5/16):
🔥 60 POINTS
👌 8 THREE
🤯 11 TOTAL POTS@KlayThompson X #NBATogetherLive pic.twitter.com/lCpZn9siPY
– NBA (@NBA) March 31, 2020
A return for the ages
You can’t tell the story of Thompson’s career without Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
After a record regular season in which the Warriors won 73 games, Golden State found itself behind Oklahoma City 3-1 in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors defeated the Thunder in Game 5 at Golden State to keep Long live their season and traveled to Oklahoma City for Game 6.
I need to be reminded, that was a championship-level Thunder team that featured Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. All three had the Warriors on the ropes heading into the final quarter of Game 6 with an eight-point lead, but that’s when Thompson took matters into his own hands.
After a 14-point third quarter, Thompson added 19 more points in the fourth quarter to lead a Warriors comeback and force a Game 7. Thompson was once again incredibly efficient, shooting 6 of 9 from the field and 5 of 4. 6 from the 3 point range.
Almost every shot Thompson made in the fourth quarter was of a, uh, high degree of difficulty.
In the 2016 WCF, Klay Thompson made 11 3-pointers against the Thunder to set a playoff record.
“Game 6 Klay” is a legend. Will we see him again tonight? 💦 pic.twitter.com/qYuABpljy7
– SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 13, 2019
Thompson led the Warriors with 41 points in the game on 11 of 18 shooting from the perimeter, setting an NBA record for 3s in a playoff game.
The Warriors defeated the Thunder in Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals, becoming the 10th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs … only to soon become the first. team in NBA history to blow a 3-1 lead in the Finals.
Still, that Game 6 against the Thunder was one of the best shooting displays we’ve seen in the playoffs and that we can see.