Warriors star shooting guard Klay Thompson tore his left ACL with 2:22 remaining in the third quarter of Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
He went up for a dunk in transition, got fouled at the rim by Toronto Raptors guard Danny Green and wasn't able to land cleanly on the ground.
Klay landed awkwardly on the left leg pic.twitter.com/h4rLSXy0Za— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 14, 2019
"I felt my knee, like, shift -- which I never felt before," Klay explained in his "Above the Waves" documentary. "I was frustrated, but ... I gave that game my heart. That series, that whole season."
Remember, the five-time All-Star tweaked his hamstring in Game 2 vs. the Raptors, and didn't suit up for Game 3 -- which snapped his streak of appearing in 120 straight playoff games.
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He returned for Game 4 and scored 28 points on 6-for-10 shooting from deep. In Game 5, he racked up 26 points (7-for-13 3s), six rebounds and four assists. He hit a 3-pointer with 2:31 remaining to pull the Warriors to within three points, and then hit another with 56.6 seconds left to give the Dubs a 106-103 lead.
He also did stuff like this:
Klay Thompson didn’t just make 7 3-pointers in Game 5. He also made defensive plays like this on Kawhi Leonard pic.twitter.com/Epras2WwFR— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 11, 2019
In that fateful Game 6 loss, he scored 28 points on just 12 shots before sustaining the knee injury. And then cemented himself as a legend forever by returning to the court to shoot the free throws:
This is INSANE! Klay argued with a Warriors trainer and tried to stay in the game. He then jogged back to the locker room, thinking he would get examined and then return to the court. The guy had a torn ACL! pic.twitter.com/5PbNaEF6tD— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 17, 2019
This was the exchange between Klay Thompson and Danny Green after Klay came back onto the floor to shoot the two free throws after already tearing his ACL pic.twitter.com/lMLeLVKZM0— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 17, 2019
"I was playing at the highest level I ever played at -- during the last Finals," Klay said in the documentary.
Klay Thompson shot 58.5 percent from 3-point range (24-for-41) in the NBA Finals— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) June 14, 2019
And the hope now is that Klay can get back to that form (or even better) when he returns to the court for the 2020-21 season.
The three-time NBA champion never has been more motivated.