Klay Thompson's Vintage Game 5 Celebrated as Warriors Advance to 2022 NBA Finals

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 27, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates a three point basket during the first quarter against the Dallas Mavericks in Game Five of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals at Chase Center on May 26, 2022 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors are headed to their sixth NBA Finals in eight seasons, and it only feels right that a vintage Klay Thompson game in Thursday's 120-110 victory over the Dallas Mavericks put them there this year.

While Thompson is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and an integral part of three championships, he also missed the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons with ACL and Achilles injuries. He was a shadow of his former self at times this season, but the version who darts around screens and is automatic from deep took the floor at Chase Center for Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

Thompson made just seven three-pointers in the first four games of the series but dropped 32 points behind eight made triples Thursday.

Social media loved what it saw from the sharpshooter:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

DRAY ➡️ KLAY<br><br>DUBS UP 21 <a href="https://t.co/yKQrxNlsRK">pic.twitter.com/yKQrxNlsRK</a>

Saad Yousuf @SaadYousuf126

It is so awesome to see Klay thriving at this level on this stage again. After all he’s been through. Good for him.

mac jones for mvp @theyknowSims_

Game 6 Klay to Game 5 Klay tonight <a href="https://t.co/Y9XC80DoP3">pic.twitter.com/Y9XC80DoP3</a>

Colin Cowherd @ColinCowherd

Old Klay coming back into form.

Golden State Warriors @warriors

please do yourself a favor and watch Klay's celebration <a href="https://t.co/JBgvY747bq">https://t.co/JBgvY747bq</a> <a href="https://t.co/T8zX65Bu9W">pic.twitter.com/T8zX65Bu9W</a>

Dr. Nirav Pandya, M.D. @DrNiravPandya

Today marks 18 months since Klay Thompson underwent surgery on Achilles tendon. Although it’s not a game 6, it would be fitting to have a huge game for him tonight to take the Warriors to the NBA finals.

ClutchPoints @ClutchPointsApp

Klay Thompson was a flamethrower in the first half. Warriors lead the Mavs at halftime of Game 5, 69-52.<br><br>19 points<br>7-of-11 FG<br>5-of-8 3PT <a href="https://t.co/2c5vrI1eNd">pic.twitter.com/2c5vrI1eNd</a>

Ann Killion @annkillion

The joy of seeing Klay light up the court in a playoff game: don't take this for granted.

NBA Memes @NBAMemes

Luka Doncic watching the Klay Thompson show <a href="https://t.co/orYH8SzWC6">pic.twitter.com/orYH8SzWC6</a>

Golden State Warriors @warriors

Klay Thompson is very good at basketball. <a href="https://t.co/1EmtwV6QAc">pic.twitter.com/1EmtwV6QAc</a>

Ann Killion @annkillion

After too long in Dallas I'm guessing Klay went in the ocean today. The Pacific Ocean is, after all, undefeated.

Tyrese Maxey @TyreseMaxey

aight KLAY… you got it!

tim cato @tim_cato

it must suck to lose to a Klay supernova performance because, like, you can't even be mad at him

It wasn't just Thompson, as Stephen Curry (15 points and nine assists) played more of a facilitating role, Jordan Poole (16 points, six rebounds and six assists) provided an immediate spark off the bench, Kevon Looney (10 points and 18 boards) and Andrew Wiggins (18 points and 10 boards) controlled the boards, and Draymond Green (17 points, nine assists and six rebounds) did a little bit of everything.

It was gorgeous basketball throughout, and it crescendoed with a Green behind-the-back pass to Thompson for another three-pointer in the third quarter. It was also fitting Thompson's three-pointer with about three minutes remaining all but iced it.

Golden State's defense was also locked in for stretches while holding Luka Doncic to an inefficient 10-of-28 shooting from the field and 3-of-13 from deep to score his 28 points.

That type of defense may be necessary in the NBA Finals against Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics or Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, but Thompson's shooting could also swing the race for the Larry O'Brien Trophy like it did Thursday.