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Klay Thompson Shines As Warriors Advance Past Mavericks to Finals

The Splash Brothers are headed back to the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors took control of Game 5 from the initial tip and fought off a third-quarter run by the Mavericks heading into the final quarter to win, 120–110, to advance to their sixth NBA Finals in eight seasons. 

But beyond the win, it was a big moment for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who battled back from injuries to get back to the NBA’s pinnacle. 

Thompson fought back emotion in a postgame interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson following his Game 5 performance, connecting on eight threes for the fifth time of his career on Thursday for 32 points in the Warriors’ win. Prior to Thursday, the five-time All-Star made a combined seven three pointers in the first four games of the series.

“I should have had 10 threes, I left three on the board tonight,” Thompson told Johnson. “We still got four more to go Dub Nation but I'm going to soak this in though.”

Thompson returned to the court for the Warriors on Jan. 9 against Cleveland after missing 941 days. He had not played since tearing his ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against Toronto. While rehabbing from surgery for that injury, he tore his right Achilles tendon scrimmaging on his own in November 2020. 

His massive performance included 19 of his 32 points in the first half. He had not scored more than 19 points in a game this series. Curry, who finished with 15 points and nine assists, was named the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP. He averaged 23.8 points per game on 42% from three in the series. 

Curry broke his hand in Oct. 2019, which saw him miss significant time while the Warriors ended the 2019-20 season with 15 wins. 

And for Golden State forward Draymond Green, Thursday's series-clinching win was a "special" one for him.

“This is a group that no one thought would ever be back here,” Green told Johnson. 

With the win, Golden State became the first team to reach the NBA Finals six times in a span of eight seasons since Michael Jordan and the Bulls did so from 1991 to ’98. 

The Warriors bounced back from a loss in Game 4, shooting 51% from the floor in Thursday’s win, including 39% from three-point range after shooting 35.7% from the floor in Game 4. 

Golden State now awaits to play Boston or Miami in this year’s NBA Finals. 

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