The Golden State Warriors have built a dynasty playing a fine brand of basketball based on movement, passing and creativity. Trailing 2-1 and desperate for a win on hostile ground in Boston’s TD Garden, the Warriors showed very little of that choreography but managed to pull off a robust 107-97 win to tie the NBA Finals. as the series returns to San Francisco for the game. 5 on Mondays (9 p.m. ET on ABC).
For a team that shares the ball as a defining quality of its style, the Warriors have once again relied heavily on Stephen Curry. The two-time MVP was brilliant Friday night. Against the NBA’s top-ranked defense that focused on the game’s most famous shooter, Curry found the smallest pockets of space in the Celtics’ pick-and-roll coverage to throw looping shots at long distance and acrobatic runners out of the dribble. He finished with 43 points on 14 of 26 shooting, including 7 of 14 from beyond the arc and 8 of 9 from the line. The smallest starter for either team also grabbed 10 rebounds in 41 minutes.
The Warriors have traditionally featured plenty of offense during their dynastic run, but they’ve struggled to find consistent shot creation outside of Curry’s exploits. Golden State had to rely on Curry, with heavy use of a more traditional pick-and-roll game to maximize their shooting opportunities. Curry worked tirelessly in Game 4 off the dribble in isolation against any favorable matchup – and the Celtics’ solid defense exhibits little of that.
For Curry, Game 4 was a showcase of both prolific volume and dramatic topicality. The 3-point step back he drained on a return pass from Draymond Green gave the Warriors a six-point lead in the remaining two minutes and silenced the boisterous Garden crowd.
For Curry, Friday night was his seventh career Finals game with seven 3-pointers. Only one other player in NBA history has more than one (Ray Allen with a pair), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Game 4 was his second-highest performance ever in a Finals game, and the first time a guard scored a 40-point, 10-rebound line since Dwyane Wade in the 2006 Finals.
In the final minutes, the Warriors still managed to produce a gem from their patent playbook when the Celtics trapped Curry on a screen from Green. As he has done countless times in this era, Curry sent a pass over the double team to an open Green, who found Looney for a high-low pass – the Warriors ballet that pushed the five-point team with just over a minute. left.
The Celtics, who led for most of the game, appeared to be getting a long-awaited signature performance from Jayson Tatum, who entered the game averaging 22 points in the first three games with a deplorable true shooting percentage. of 48.4. Tatum and Jaylen Brown delivered solid efforts – decisive, assertive attacks with smart play. Yet in the closing frame, the Celtics simply couldn’t convert opportunities, as they lost the fourth quarter 28-19. They missed seven of their last eight shots as Golden State finished the game on a 17-3 run.
While Game 4 will no doubt have a major page in Curry’s personal album, it wasn’t necessarily material for the Warriors’ time capsule. Green continued to struggle and found himself on the bench for much of the fourth quarter. While Klay Thompson sank a key 3-pointer late, he continues to struggle to find and make looks. Swingman Otto Porter Jr. (2 points, 0 for 2 shooting), who started in place of center Kevon Looney, couldn’t generate the timely offense he provided in previous postseason games . And 20 assists in total is a pittance for a team that has won championships with the assist.
Still, the Warriors will return to San Francisco as series favorites for the first time in a week, regardless of the unsightly flaws and festering issues. Curry is one of those singular NBA players who can make you forget what’s missing and celebrate what’s there.