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Watch Klay Thompson score 17 in memorable return to Warriors

This is how much Klay Thomson’s return meant to the Warriors: Draymond Green was not going to play due to an ongoing hip issue, but he wanted to be in the starting lineup with Thompson. So Green suited up, was out there for the introductions and opening tip, then committed a foul and was subbed out. He just needed to be out there.

After more than two years, Klay Thompson’s return to the court could not have gone much better: 17 points, 3-of-8 from 3, all in 20 minutes. And there was an impressive dunk.

“This is a night I will never forget,” Thompson said in his walk-off interview.

You knew the Warriors were going to get Thompson touches early. Steve Kerr said the first play was not drawn up for Thompson, but once he got the ball he came off a Juan Toscano-Anderson screen, drove hard to the rim and hit a layup over Jarrett Allen.

The Warriors can afford to ease Thompson back in with Jordan Poole coming off the bench behind him; Poole had 14 points on the night. Stephen Curry looked comfortable next to his Splash Brother and led all scorers with 28.

Thompson had missed more than two years after first tearing his ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals. Then, during rehab, he tore his Achilles, leading to another setback. Thompson kept his head down (well, except when on his boat), put in the work, and pushed for this day.

The Warriors got the win 96-82, and once again it was their league-best defense that was the real key. The Warriors held the Cavaliers to a 90.1 offensive rating for the game. As Thompson rounds into form, he will improve that defense even more.

If the Warriors had lost, it wouldn’t have been the same. But they didn’t and all felt right with the world.

Because Klay Thompson is back on the court.