BOSTON — In the span of less than 48 hours, doubts about whether the left foot of Stephen Curry could bear enough weigh to play effectively in the most important game of the 2022 season turned into the latest occasion of the future Hall of Famer carrying the Dubs on his back — with his feet and ankles holding up just fine — to wrest home court back in the latest twist to the NBA Finals.
Curry dazzled TD Garden with 43 points and 10 rebounds, making seemingly every clutch shot he took late as the Warriors used a game-ending 17-3 run to defeat the Boston Celtics 107-97 to tie the NBA Finals series at two games apiece before its resumption in San Francisco on Monday. Two nights after recovering from a foot injury suffered late in the Warriors’ Game 3 defeat, Curry made seven three-pointers on his way to the second-most points he has ever scored in an NBA Finals game.
“Just stunning,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “The physicality out there is, you know, pretty dramatic. I mean, Boston’s got obviously, best defense in the league. Huge and powerful at every position, and for Steph to take that — that kind of pressure all game long and still be able to defend at the other end when they are coming at him shows you, I think this is the strongest physically he’s ever been in his career, and it’s allowing him to do what he’s doing.”
Andrew Wiggins had another great two-way effort, scoring 17 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds in a game where the Warriors switched up their starting lineup (Otto Porter Jr. started in place of Kevon Looney) in an effort to swing momentum back on their side after a humbling defeat on Wednesday that saw the Celtics outmuscle Golden State all night in Game 3.
All that said, and Curry managed to outscore the rest of the Warriors starters, 43-39. Boston led 94-94 before the game’s decisive run, a 10-0 Golden State spurt which saw Curry assist on Klay Thompson’s go-ahead three-pointer to make it 95-94 before the two-time MVP made back-to-back shots, a runner a the free throw line to give the Warriors a five-point lead before a right-wing three over the outstretched arm of Derrick White for a 100-94 lead with 1:42 remaining.
“The heart on that man is incredible,” Thompson said of Curry. “You know, the things he does we kind of take for granted from time to time, but to go out there and put us on his back, I mean, we got to help him out on Monday.”
Boston has to take care of a number of things on Monday, mainly its performance down the stretch. The Celtics did not hit a field goal in the game’s final five minutes, missing all six of its field goal attempts.J ayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points and 11 rebounds while Jaylen Brown had 21 points. Boston shot just 33 percent (7-for-21) in the fourth quarter, and Brown was the only player on the Celtics to make more than one shot from the field in the final stanza — though he missed all three of his three-point attempts in the fourth.
“We did get some good shots off, but we would like to get a little bit more downhill and get some things to the rim and kick out,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “Credit to [the Warriors]. They stepped up defensively when it counted. Our offense wasn’t as sharp as it needed to be, no doubt.”