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Klay Thompson has scored 17 points in his return from two devastating injuries that sidelined him more than two-and-half years, helping the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 96-82 on Sunday night.
Thompson was 7 of 18 from the field and 3 of 8 from three-point range. He added three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 20 minutes, walking off the court to a thunderous ovation from the Chase Center crowd.
"I tried to visualize this moment for years," Thompson said.
"I'm just excited to get it out of the way now and I can get back in the rhythm of things. This is unbelievable. This is worth every second."
Stephen Curry had 29 points, five rebounds and five assists for Golden State, who snapped a two-game losing streak to tie the Phoenix Suns for the NBA lead at 30-9.
Thompson missed 941 days and hadn't played since tearing the ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. While rehabbing from that surgery, he tore his right Achilles tendon scrimmaging on his own in November 2020.
The five-time All-Star finally made his much-anticipated return, and reached two career milestones -- 12,000 points and 1,800 triples.
"I did not shoot as well as I wanted to but I'm so happy I can even look at the stat sheet and see my name there. It's been a long run. I'm not going to say it equivalent to winning a championship but it was pretty close."
The Brooklyn Nets beat the San Antonio Spurs 121-119 in overtime to snap a five-game home losing streak.
Kevin Durant scored 28 points for the Nets (25-13), James Harden 26, and Australia's Patty Mills returned to form against his former team after recent shooting struggles, adding 13 points to score in double figures for the first time in four games.
In Dallas, Luka Doncic had 22 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for his third triple-double of the season as the Mavericks beat Chicago 113-99 for their season-best sixth straight victory while snapping the Bulls' nine-game winning streak.
"It would have been nice to get to 10 (consecutive wins), double digits, but we didn't play good enough to win," Chicago center Nikola Vucevic said.
Combined with Brooklyn's win, the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls' (26-11) advantage over the second-placed Nets shrank to one-and-a-half games.
Aussie Josh Green had a season-high 18 points for Dallas (22-18) while compatriot Josh Giddey had 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 99-95 loss at home to the Denver Nuggets.
"There's nights like tonight where we're right in the game and we just come out of the wrong end," OKC rookie Giddey said.
"But I think with experience and learning from those games, that's when, two, three four years from now, in those late-game situations, you understand how to come out with a win. Obviously, Denver is a lot more experienced than we are, and they showed that tonight."
In Los Angeles, the Lakers - despite 35 points from LeBron James - were beaten 127-119 by the Memphis Grizzlies (28-14), who consolidated fourth in the Western Conference after setting a franchise-record ninth straight win, while Karl-Anthony Towns scored a season-high 40 points in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 141-123 win over the Houston Rockets.