There are many explanations for the Celtics' fourth-quarter comeback/Warriors' collapse in NBA Finals Game 1.
Boston's 17-0 surge transformed a 12-point deficit into a 120-108 win with contributions from multiple players. This was Celtics' resiliency. Warriors bumbled.
Klay Thompson laboured hard to go back to the Finals for this. Thursday wasn't Klay's fault. He was criticised.
Thompson had a team-worst minus-27 fourth quarter. He only made two shots, one after the game was over. He shot 6-of-14 for 15 points and was minus-9.
Thompson stated, "I missed some wonderful looks." "I missed [defensive] rotations..." "On the grandest stage, it's never fun and hurts."
Thompson's return to the Finals was a milestone for the player. Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6 of the 2014 Finals against Toronto. The Warriors' loss to the Raptors and Kevin Durant's departure heralded the end of their dynasty.
Thompson missed the 2019-20 season, then tore his Achilles in 2020-21.
In December, he was assigned to Santa Cruz, G League, to practise. In January, a beloved "Splash Brother" returned to the NBA.
He played 32 games, gaining rust. He shot 38.5% from 3-point range and 42.9% from the field, but still averaged 20.4% per game.
Being here was cool. Thompson was emotional as the Warriors beat Dallas in the WCF.
Thompson's fourth NBA Finals appearance was "surreal." "Difficult to explain. I was just started to jog and run last year. Now to feel like myself, explosive, and confident. "I'm thankful."
No emotion now. A battle-tested Boston club is seeking to capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Thompson's playoffs have been wild. One game 32, the next 12. When doubts arise about the 32-year-effectiveness, old's he pops off like old times. In Golden State's wins over Memphis and Dallas, he made 16 threes and scored 62 points.
Draymond Green: "It's having Game 6s when everyone says he's shooting poorly." "The way he handles these situations allows him to win every game. Rare."
Thompson's competitiveness wasn't questioned. This proves it. He'll need it to win this series.
With five previous Finals appearances and three titles, he's not worried about Thursday's loss.
Thompson said, "First to four, not one." "We've all been here."
Still, a precious triumph was lost.
Thompson's greatness is debatable. Is he an all-time great or a guy who profited from being Stephen Curry's running mate?
Thompson didn't make the NBA's 75th anniversary squad, hence he wasn't a top 75 player. That insulted Thompson. Motivated. Continue winning to make the Top 100 in 25 years. Golden State's mix of veteran and young talent might reignite the dynasty.
That will require consistent performance from Thompson, who is back with a fresh perspective and new appreciation for the grandest stage.
Thompson: "It'll be tough." "Sunday is another chance."