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Klay drops classic Klay joke amid emotional postgame speech originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Klay Thompson saved his best for last in the Western Conference finals, with 32 points and eight 3-pointers in a closeout 120-110 Game 5 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday to help the Warriors advance to the NBA Finals.
But when TNT’s Ernie Johnson went off-script during the postgame ceremony at Chase Center and asked Thompson how it felt to be back in the NBA Finals after a long two years recovering from injuries, Thompson responded with a joke.
“I mean, I should’ve had 10 threes,” Thompson said. “I left like three on the board tonight.”
Then, Thompson got serious.
“I’m just so happy to be back,” Thompson said. “I’m so thankful for this team. These guys carried us to an incredible start [this season] and then me coming back in there. I don’t want to get emotional Ernie, I can’t believe we’re back. This is crazy. I’m going to enjoy this tonight. Wow, we’ve still got four more to go, Dub Nation. I’m going to soak this in tonight. I can’t believe it.”
The emotion in Thompson’s voice was clear.
He’s 32 now, with two years of his prime robbed by back-to-back injuries that could’ve derailed his career. He tore his ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and missed the 2019-20 season. Then the next year, he tore his right Achilles tendon before the season even began, missing the 2020-21 season as well.
Thompson came back midway through the 2021-22 season in January to much fanfare. He had some throwback moments while also struggling at times -- but he has found his game when the Warriors have needed it most in the playoffs, from “Game 6 Klay” closing out the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round to a highly-efficient Game 5 performance against the Mavericks on Thursday.
As Thompson said, there are four more wins to go. Then, the storybook comeback would really be complete.