When Klay Thompson dropped 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting (with four threes) against the New York Knicks on Friday, there was a sense that the slumping Golden State Warriors star had figured something out. It was a potentially important step on the team’s path back to respectability, to be sure.
However, his effort at the Houston Rockets two nights later was on a whole other plane; proof positive that the old Splash Bro is alive and well (and that the Dubs’ title hopes might be, too).
In 37 minutes on the court, Thompson scored a season-high 41 points on just 23 shot attempts. He also drilled 10 three-pointers, a feat he has only accomplished on five other occasions throughout his illustrious career. In doing so, he combined with Stephen Curry (33 points, 15 assists) to lead Golden State to its first road win of 2022-23.
After the game, social media was alight over the full-on nuclear performance from the five-time All-Star.
Twitter Reacts to Klay’s Vintage Performance
Amid Thompson’s slow start — not to mention the fact that Jordan Poole has also struggled — there have been rumblings on Twitter and around the basketball blogosphere that head coach Steve Kerr should, at least temporarily, move the baller to the bench.
His effort on Sunday has clearly stamped out much of that chatter.
“Anybody on this app still want Klay Thompson to come off the bench?” 95.7 The Game’s Bonta Hill chirped at the unbelievers, via Twitter.
“Old Klay is back prooving all you haters wrong that was saying he’s washed,” declared a fan.
“Where’s all Killa Klay Thompson haters at?” wondered another card-carrying member of Dub Nation. “Some of your #Warriors fans doubted him… I could never, Klay deserves nothing but respect..4X Champion!”
Not everyone was ready to pop the champagne or abandon their campaigns to get Thompson shuffled over to the second unit, however.
“Why are people acting like this is something new? Klay has always been a streak shooter, when he’s hot there’s literally nobody in the league you’d rather give the ball to, the problem is when he isn’t. Honestly I still believe he should come off the bench but that’s just me,” another person tweeted.
Clearing Mental Hurdles
Much of what Thompson has gone through in the early season can be attributed to his wild injury saga.
After an ACL tear and a ruptured Achilles combined to keep him out of commission for 941 days, the baller was understandably hesitant to go hard on the court over the summer, even after he was able to come back and help the Warriors win a title last season.
Consequently, he had to be eased back into playing at a slower rate than his counterparts during training camp (and even now, to a degree). Moreover, that mental aspect continues to affect him and how he operates on the court.
According to UCSF’s Dr. Nirav Pandya — whose voice is frequently heard talking Dubs on Bay Area radio — the worst is likely behind him, though.
“From a physiologic standpoint, the impact of his limited summer should continue to lessen moving forward,” Pandya tweeted. “There will be some ‘bad’ games given the fact that he had 2 major injuries but fans should recognize players go their whole careers never doing what he did tonight.”
With the win, Thompson and the Warriors improved to 8-9 on the campaign. They’ll be back in action with a quick turnaround on Monday night against a returning Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Tip-off from Smoothie King Center will be at 5:00 pm PT.