The return of Klay Thompson can’t come soon enough.
The last time we saw Thompson on the basketball court was Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He ruptured his ACL in that game, which kept him sidelined for the entire 2019-20 season. Then he ruptured his Achilles tendon before the 2020-21 season, sidelining him else full season.
It is still unknown after that, Thompson will fit into the Warriors squad again, but recent reports suggest he will likely be back around Christmas.
We can only hope that Thompson gets back to his full strength as much as possible because before his injury, he was one of the most explosive scorers and exciting talents in the league.
On the anniversary of one of Thompson’s most memorable shows, let’s take a walk down memory lane and relive six basketball breaks.
3s on 3s on 3s on 3s
In 2003, Kobe Bryant set a new NBA record for making 12 three-pointers in one game. Two years later, Doniel Marshall tied this record.
Bryant and Marshall’s record has held for more than a decade. Stephen Curry tied it at the end of the 2015-16 season, only to break it with 13 three-pointers near the start of the 2016-17 season.
Then Thompson went up once at Splash Brother on October 29, 2018 with 14 three-pointers in a win over the Bulls.
Thompson finished the game with 52 points in 18-for-29 from the field and 14-for-24 from 3, all with—wait for it—26 minutes of play. (Thompson sat on the bench with 4:53 remaining in the third quarter and never came back as the match ended.) 10 of his 3 came in the first inning, equaling the record held by Chandler Parsons for most 3 seconds in a half.
Oh, and just took Thompson Nine dribbles.
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Drip only when necessary
On January 8, 2019, Thompson scored a game-high 43 points in his win over the Knicks, doing so with an 18-for-29 from the field and a 7-for-16 from a 3-point range.
The craziest part of all of this? He only took four dribbles.
For perspective, there were a total of 66 players who made at least four dribbles on average Every time they touch the ball In the 2020-21 season.
For Thompson to score 43 points on fewer dribbles than some players use on one possession…unreal.
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Quarter of Records
Anyone who played for the Kings in the 2014-2015 season would probably believe in the hot hand theory, because they had front row seats for Thompson to turn into a human flamethrower in the middle of an NBA game.
Not only did Thompson highlight the Kings with 52 points, but he scored 37 in the third quarter alone, setting the NBA record for points scored in a single quarter previously held by Kevin Love.
Thompson made more history by shooting 13-for-13 from the field and 9-for-9 from the ocean in this period, equaling the NBA’s number of field goals scored in a quarter and breaking the record for 3 seconds in a quarter.
“I’ve been one of the luckiest NBA players ever to play with Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and some of the greatest players ever,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the match. “As much as Michael did, which he does every night, I’ve never seen him do that.”
Klay Thompson has already scored 37 points in one quarter.
💧13 / 13 FG
“PTS Record in Quarter”
“Record for 3 seconds in a quarter”
💧 Record for FG in Quarter (Restricted) pic.twitter.com/RFD4wtEvhj
– Bleacher Report (BleacherReport) May 12, 2020
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You lose 100% of the shots you don’t take
Anyone who played for the Lakers in the 2018-2019 season likely believes in the hot hand theory as well.
In a big win over the Lakers, Thompson scored 44 points in a 10-for-11 shot from Ocean. He started the game with a 10-for-10 shooting from a 3-point range before missing his only 3-point attempt tonight with 3:55 left in the third quarter.
In achieving 10 consecutive seconds, Thompson tied the NBA record for 3 consecutive seconds to start the game.
Want to guess with whom Thompson shares the record? No, not Carrie. Not Ray Allen either. Not Damian Lillard, James Harden, or Duncan Robinson.
The answer is…
Ty Lawson, believe it or not.
The first to do it
How’s that for history: Thompson is the only player to score 60 points while playing under 30 minutes, in Stathead.
In the win over the Pacers on December 5, 2016, Thompson scored a 60-point shot in 21-for-33 from the field and 8-for-14 from a 3-point range while only scoring 29 minutes. With the Warriors leading by 33 points after three quarters of play, Thompson watched the entire fourth quarter off the bench.
Thompson’s saliva count? 11. So more than five, but not much.
S/O to my team to prepare me for 2night! I don’t think I had to take more than 5 dribbles throughout the match
– Klay Thompson (@KlayThompson) December 6 2016
In addition, Thompson had the ball in possession for 90 seconds in 29 minutes on the field.
Back to the ages
You can’t tell the story of Thompson’s career without Game Six of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
Heading off a record-breaking regular season that saw the Warriors win 73 games, Golden State found themselves trailing Oklahoma City 3-1 in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors defeated Thunder in Game Five in Golden State to keep their season alive and travel to Oklahoma City to participate in the sixth game.
I need to remind you that this was a championship-level team Thunder that featured Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. The three of them had Warriors on the ropes heading into the fourth quarter of Game 6 by eight points, but that’s when Thompson took matters into his own hands.
After a third quarter of 14 points, Thompson put up another 19 in the final quarter to lead the Warriors comeback and force a 7 game. Once again Thompson was incredibly effective, firing 6-for-9 from the field and 5-for-6 from a 3-point range.
Pretty much every shot that Thompson took in that fourth quarter was a high degree of difficulty.
At WCF 2016, Klay Thompson hit 11 three-pointers against Thunder to set a playoff record.
“6 Clay Game” is the stuff of legend. Will we see him again tonight? 💦 pic.twitter.com/qYuABpljy7
SportsCenter June 13, 2019
Thompson led the Warriors with 41 game points in an 11-for-18 shot from the ocean, setting an NBA record for 3 seconds in a playoff.
The Warriors went on to defeat Thunder in Game 7 to advance to the NBA Finals, becoming only the 10th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the playoffs… only to soon become the first team in NBA history to advance 3-1 in the Finals. .
However, this 6 vs Thunder game was one of the greatest shooting fairs we’ve seen in the playoffs and we might ever see.