Klay Thompson is still playing to get back to his peak abilities during Golden State’s infamous 2019 Finals run that led to Thompson suffering back-to-back devastating injuries that prevented him from playing for more than two seasons.
The five-time All-Star showed he’s another step closer to reaching those peak performances after dropping 54 points on 21-39 shooting from the field, 10-21 from the three-point line, leading the Warriors to a 143-141 double-overtime against the Hawks.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Thompson said per ESPN. “There were some hard days for me when I didn’t know that this would be possible in real-time. I am just going to embrace the heck out of it.”
Klay in the Warriors 2-OT win!— NBA (@NBA) January 3, 2023
10 threes pic.twitter.com/CdOB2SqCaT
The 54-point outing was his biggest scoring out since his career-best 60-point performance in three quarters on Dec. 5, 2016, against the Indiana Pacers. It was Thompson’s fourth career 50-point game and his seventh with at least 10 3s
“He just made shot after shot and play after play. He was incredible,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.
After a prime-time performance like that, Thompson’s confidence will likely be at an all-time high. It’s the type of performance that can also set up some great things in 2023. Great news for a team looking to reverse their fortunes and make a run for a higher seed in the playoffs. However, teammate Draymond Green doesn’t want Thompson to not place too much pressure on himself.
“You don’t have to be the same Klay that you once were before,” Green said. “When you understand that, and you buy into that, then you become the Klay you were before.”
“When you’re as competitive as he is when you’re as good as he is, it’s tough sometimes,” Green said. “For two years, everybody is doubting you. That same fire toward that doubt is what made you, Klay Thompson — you don’t just lose that. That is embedded in you. It’s good to see him settle down. He’s not chasing it anymore, and it’s falling right in his lap. When you are that good, that’s usually what happens.”
Fourth career 50-point game.— VoteDraymond4AllStar (@warriors) January 3, 2023
Klay Thompson balled out last night.
» https://t.co/ocDF2EHeJH pic.twitter.com/anzqUguZj1
Thompson says he’s in a place now than at the start of the season. The 32-year-old sharpshooter told reporters that wanting to prove everyone wrong was a disservice to himself, and now he has to remind himself that playing for the Warriors “is a dream” and that he’s shifted his mindset to “having fun and playing hard.”
“I have to remind myself daily that [playing for the Warriors] is literally the dream. What matters most is having fun and playing hard. All the numbers, all the big nights will come as long as I do those two things.”
The Warriors and Klay Thompson will play the Pistons on Wednesday.