Sunday night was a game that Klay Thompson will never forget.
Making his return after a two-plus year absence, Thompson's emotional night was highlighted by his play on the court in the Warriors' 96-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Chase Center.
Chipping in 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field and 3-of-9 from 3-point range in 19 minutes of action, Klay threw down a monster dunk for good measure.
Thompson joined NBC Sports Bay Area Warriors broadcasters Bob Fitzgerald and Kelenna Azubuike on the postgame show to discuss his memorable night.
“It feels good to be on the other side, it was a long time coming,” Thompson said.
“I thought it was going to be one of those nights after that floater that I had … I was nervous to start. I’m just so grateful to be out there and the love I received pregame, the video tributes. It was special, this was a night that I would never forget. It lived up to all the hype and I’m just very grateful for our fanbase, it’s incredible.”
Despite scoring 17 points in just 19 minutes, hitting a few big 3-pointers and throwing down an electrifying dunk in his return, Thompson believed he could have done more.
“There were still four or five shots I should have made, but I’m just happy that I’m here and I can say that," Thompson added. "The last two years were tough and it felt great to get the first one out of the way. Obviously, the win is most important. It was an emotional night.
“I did not know I was going to dunk on somebody first game back, so hooray for me.”
With all the emotion, anticipation, video tributes and hype that went into his long-awaited return, at what point did it start to feel normal again?
“Probably the second time I subbed in, second rotation," Thompson said. "It just felt like a normal basketball game again. I’m excited to be in the fray of things and I’m really excited for the future. It’s going to be a great year and I love the feeling of winning."
Immediately after his dunk, Thompson hilariously reacted with a little bit of a snarl facial expression. A clear sign that he -- and his personality -- are all the way back.
“You dunk on two people – and it’s been a couple years – you gotta do something. I don’t know, I’m just happy.”
Not only did Thompson make his return to the court, but he played very well and the Warriors got a big win over the Cavs. All-in-all it was a night that he, the team and Dubs fans will remember forever.
“The fans are the best in the league," Thompson said. "The ovation and the pregame and to come out and make my first shot. We did not even shoot well tonight and it shows you how good we are defensively. The fans are everything, they’ve inspired me for the last two years and I thought about them every day on that squat rack, on that shuttle machine, I’m just so happy to be back and doing what I love.”