Klay Thompson’s been waiting for this one. After coming back from the horrendous injury he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson found a way to come back and help the Golden State Warriors win the title last season.
However, he hasn’t had a dominant game like this since before his injury. In a thrilling 143-141 double-OT victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the first time the Chase Center crowd had ever seen two extra periods, Thompson put the team on his back and finished with 54 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a block while shooting 21 of 39 from the field and 10 of 21 from beyond the arc.
When the Warriors needed him, he was there. He tied the game at 126 with 1:55 left in the first overtime to send the crowd on fire.
Thompson followed that up with another huge dagger that gave the Warriors a lead with 17 seconds left in OT.
Although the Hawks managed to tie the game to force the second overtime, Thompson’s teammates stepped into provide their own heroics when it counted. First, Draymond Green made a three to push their lead to five with the shot clock expiring.
Then, after the Hawks managed to tie the game with eight seconds left, they inexplicably decided not to defend properly, which allowed the Thompson to get a shot off. Though he missed that shot on his tired legs, Kevon Looney (who had 14 points and 21 rebounds), got the winning tip as the clock ran out of time.
Jordan Poole also contributed 28 points, and though he went 11 of 32 overall and 2 of 12 from three, he made shots when they mattered in both overtime periods.
This game marks the first time that Thompson broke the 50-point mark since the 2018-19 season. It’s now the second-highest scoring output of his career, second only to the 60 he had in the 2016-17 season against the Chicago Bulls. He’s only other 50+ point game was when he dropped 52 against the Sacramento Kings in the 2014-15 season, where he dropped a historic 37 points in the third quarter.
The Warriors are now on a five-game winning streak and are back to ninth place in the loaded Western Conference. They’ve played admirably as Steph Curry continues to heal his shoulder injury, and own the best home record in the league at 17-2. If they can somehow figure out how to won on the road, where they’re currently 3-16, they could position themselves for another deep playoff run.
There’s still a lot of season left, so it would be unwise to predict where the Warriors will end in the standings in April, but for today, let’s just celebrate a vintage performance from one of the greatest shooters the game has ever seen. Thompson was understandably elated with his performance, and had a message for haters in his postgame interview.