Klay Thompson bricks all 10 attempts in possibly last game with Warriors

Klay Thompson, celebrated for his pivotal role in the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty of a decade-plus, alongside Stephen Curry as the inseparable Splash Brother has created an array of unforgettable moments within the basketball arena.

His Game 6 heroics. The deluge of 3-pointers. The unyielding defense against some of the game’s greatest scorers. These are markers of Thompson’s exceptional abilities.

However, these glorious memories faded into the background as Thompson faced one of his most challenging games during a significant moment. On Tuesday night, April 16th, he missed all 10 attempted shots, resulting in a crushing 118-94 defeat against the Sacramento Kings in the play-in tournament. This lackluster performance marked Thompson’s final game before entering an ambiguous free agency summer.

The loss left Thompson noticeably stunned. He was seen on the bench immersed in his thoughts before slowly exiting the court. A departure that might signify the end of his time in a Warriors uniform.

“Everybody’s going to talk about one game,” Curry said. “I know he wanted to play better. I know he’s a true champion. We all prepare ourselves to play our best when the lights are bright. When it doesn’t happen, nobody needs to tell you anything.”

For the first time since his rookie season, he ended the game without scoring. He set a lamentable record of the most missed shots without a score in a Warriors’ playoff game spanning over 50 seasons.

Far removed from his triumphant 37-point third quarter against the Kings in 2015, a 60-point performance against Indiana the subsequent season, or the 11 3-pointers sunk in the crucial Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City that forced a decisive Game 7 and a cherished return to the NBA Finals.

After missing two complete seasons (2019-20 and 2020-21) due to devastating knee and Achilles injuries, Thompson has struggled to regain his former prowess. His return to form was pivotal in securing the Warriors their fourth championship in this era in 2022, yet he faced extended periods of difficulty throughout the season.

In response, he was relegated to the bench in crucial moments of late games, and even forced to begin games on the sidelines. Despite finding his rhythm late in the season, he faltered against the Kings.

The completion of his lucrative five-year contract worth nearly $190 million has positioned him for free agency in July. The Warriors must now decide how much a 34-year-old with prime seasons behind him, and two significant injuries, is worth. Simultaneously, Thompson must consider the extent of a potential pay cut, or contemplate concluding his career elsewhere.

“We need Klay back. I know he had a tough night tonight,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “I know I speak for everyone in the organization, we want him back. Obviously there’s business at hand and that has to be addressed. But what Klay has meant to this franchise, as good as he is, we definitely want him back.”

A testament to Thompson’s influence, he has been instrumental in the Warriors’ four championships and six NBA Finals appearances from 2015-22. His 2,481 made regular season 3-pointers rank sixth in NBA history, and his 501 playoff 3-pointers trail only Curry.

While Thompson declined to speak to the media post-game, he is anticipated to address the matter on Wednesday as the team faces an unpredictable summer.

This season marked the first time the Warriors missed the playoffs with a healthy trio of Curry, Thompson, and Green. Their partnership of 12 seasons is the second-longest in NBA history, trailing only San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili’s 14 seasons.

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