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‘He wasn’t shy’: Klay’s first bucket not predetermined

/ by Tom Dierberger
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Klay Thompson had the sellout crowd at Chase Center roaring in the opening seconds of the Warriors’ 96-82 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

On Golden State’s first trip down the floor, Thompson caught a pass from Andrew Wiggins at the perimeter, took one dribble and lobbed a shot over two Cavs defenders.

In his long-awaited return, it took all of 38 seconds for Thompson to get on the score sheet.

“He wasn’t shy, was he?” coach Steve Kerr told reporters after the game. “Not that we would ever expect Klay to be shy.”

Although it appeared like Kerr purposely fed Thompson to get his first bucket out of the way, the Warriors coach admitted that wasn’t the plan.

“I drew the first play up – not for him, but for him to catch it and move it on,” Kerr said. “I should’ve known better. He just caught it and drove and scored. It was a phenomenal moment.”

“The whole story is [Kerr] drew up a play,” Steph Curry said. “He used Klay as kind of a decoy, to take a little bit of pressure off. There was a second option where I was supposed to come off a screen. Then as he was drawing it up, he didn’t even get to finish writing up the play. Klay was like, ‘no, can we switch it to the other side?’ because he likes that way coming off a catch-and-shoot. And then coach is kind of stumbling, he’s like, ‘no, there’s another option at the end. Nah, forget it. Run over here, if you get it, just shoot it.’

“And that’s what happened.”

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In his first action since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson finished with 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting in 20 minutes. He also tallied three rebounds and nailed three triples.

Curry wasn’t surprised to see his teammate attempt 18 shots from the field in 20 minutes.

“That is so Klay Thompson,” Curry joked. “Funny part is coach had to mention it before the game – don’t feel like you have to force-feed him because he’ll find his shots. He definitely didn’t disappoint in that regard.”

With the season debut behind him, Tuesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies will be another opportunity for Thompson to get his rhythm back.

“It’s going to be interesting because the adrenaline and the high from tonight will come down eventually, and he’s going to have to work his way through that over the next few games and continue to build up his endurance,” Kerr said. “It’ll come. The rhythm and timing will come in time.”

From the pregame warmups to the emotional introduction to his viral dunk, “Klay Day” lived up to the hype. It was a game the Bay Area will remember for a long, long time.

“The introductions, starting lineup – it was amazing just hearing the crowd,” Kerr said. “A beautiful night.”