Wednesday, May 18 2022

Klay responds to Myers’ prediction with best game since return originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO – Warriors team president Bob Myers was, like many fans around the NBA, waiting for Klay Thompson to take a journey into the shooting zone he knows perhaps better than anyone who has ever shot a basketball.

“From a physical standpoint, the way he’s moving, we would argue he’s ahead of schedule,” Myers said Thursday night, shortly before tipoff against the Kings. “I think the shot will come.”

Klay’s shot came a few minutes later.

And it kept coming. Klay’s 3-pointers were falling and falling and falling, and the sellout crowd at Chase Center was smiling and smiling and smiling as he led the Warriors to a 126-114 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

“It was awesome to see,” longtime teammate Stephen Curry said. “I love when he’s got a pep in his step and getting rewarded with shots going in. He can get hot at any moment when he’s got that look in his eye, we love to see that. It’s a big boost for the whole team, I know it’s for him as well.”

By the time Thompson left the floor early in the fourth quarter, having reached his 24-minute limit, he had a team-high 23 points, draining a season-high seven 3-balls in nine attempts – easily his most efficient shooting from distance since his return on Jan. 9.

Klay made his first six 3-pointers, punctuating the streak with four in a little more than two minutes early in the second quarter. He scored 20 points on nine shots in 14 first-half minutes.

“The guy has had 60 (points) in a game, 38 (actually 37) in a quarter,” Kings coach Alvin Gentry said. “So, it’s not one of those things. Once he gets going, he’s hard to turn off.”

Thompson made his first seven shots overall, the sixth a 3-pointer that gave him 1,828 3-pointers for his career, moving him past the late, legendary Kobe Bryant into 20th place on the NBA’s list for career triples.

“Always a huge honor,” Thompson said. “We miss him so much. He was one of one. And he’s my biggest inspiration for playing basketball. I really miss him and Gigi (Bryant).”

This was Thompson’s 11th game of the season, a number that corresponds with his jersey, the year (2011) in which he was drafted by the Warriors and the slot (No. 11 overall) in which he was selected. He also, maintaining symmetry, took 11 shots in the game.

This is the kind of shooting performance Thompson is famous for, as Gentry pointed out. When he is in the Klay Zone, there is no such thing as a “bad shot.” With, according to Curry, one exception: “If it’s blocked.”

None of Thompson’s shots was blocked in this game. While firing shots through the net, he also demonstrated his passing wizardry.

“It wasn’t just the shooting; he had seven assists,” coach Steve Kerr said. “His drive-and-kick to Damion Lee early in the fourth quarter was a big basket. Kind of broke the game open.”

That play sparked a 14-3 rally that gave the Warriors a 110-92 lead with 8:02 left. Thompson’s night was done. His 3-point shooting percentage entering the game was 32.9. After going 7-of-9 beyond the arc, it was 37.8 – much closer to his 41.9 career percentage.

RELATED: Klay roasts Kings over 2011 NBA Draft snub

It was as if he heard Myers’ pregame comments and immediately responded with corrections.

“I did not,” Thompson said. “I was getting ready for pregame and I’m happy with the night. But I want to build off this. I want to shoot the lights out all the time.”

There have been many nights when Klay did precisely that. This was the first sustained glimpse of that kind of accuracy since he returned after a 31-month absence in the wake of serious injuries to his left knee and right Achilles’ tendon.

There will more such nights, because that’s Thompson’s history. Which is why Myers said what he said. He could not have known such a night would come so soon.

Source: Yahoo Sports

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