NBA

Klay Thompson delighted to hit 30-minute 'milestone' as Warriors down Thunder

By Sports Desk February 08, 2022

Klay Thompson reflected on reaching a "huge milestone" after bumping up his playing time to 30 minutes in the Golden State Warriors' 110-98 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Regarded as one of the best shooters in NBA history, Thompson has been slowly building up his game time since returning from consecutive ACL and Achilles injuries that left him on the shelf for two and a half years.

He drained two late three-pointers to evoke memories of his Game 6 heroics against the same opponents in 2016 when he nailed 11 three-point efforts – a playoff record.

"That's a huge milestone for myself, and hopefully I can build on it," Thompson said.

"I feel incredible. I feel like I haven't missed a beat only 12 games in."

The majority of Thompson's minutes came in the second half, playing 17.21 in the final two quarters.

Head coach Steve Kerr explained why, saying: "It was awesome just to have Klay back in crunch time. 

"Knowing the defense was going to be heavily slighted toward Steph [Curry] and for him to get free and knock down a couple of shots, it was really fun to see."

An increase to Thompson's playing time will be a welcome relief for Kerr, who is still without Draymond Green, James Wiseman and Nemanja Bjelica, while Andre Iguodala sustained lower back tightness against the Thunder having returned after nine games on the sidelines.

"Meaning we don't have to think about it [rotating]," Kerr said of the boost of Thompson's minutes. 

"Like, we don't have to pull him out. He might be going really well and we can play him a few extra minutes without having to follow really strict guidelines."

Thompson's late efforts were not necessarily in keeping with his performance overall. Prior to those shots he was one-of-six from three-point range (finishing three-of-eight by the end of the game) and was six-of-15 from the floor overall.

But superstar team-mate Steph Curry believes the Warriors will continue to see the very best of Thompson as his minutes gradually increase.

"There's just confidence knowing he still has that instinct and no matter how the game is going up to that point. He's still got the shooter's DNA of the next shot is going in," Curry said. 

"As his minutes ramp up, you'll continue to see those high peaks and Klay going nuts."

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