BOSTON — The Boston Celtics scored six points in the 7:32 final in Game 4, and the Splash Brothers delivered a vintage performance in the fourth quarter that tied the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors.
Stephen Curry scored 43 points in Golden State’s 106-97 win, stealing Boston’s golden opportunity to take the series lead. Klay Thompson added eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer that gave the Warriors a 95-94 lead they wouldn’t give up in the final four minutes.
“Just gorgeous,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s performance. “The physicality there is quite dramatic. Boston obviously has the best defense in the league – huge and powerful at every position – and for Steph to take that kind of pressure throughout the game and still be able to defend at the other end when they come to him shows you that he’s the strongest physically he’s ever been in his career.”
Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and 16 rebounds for Golden State.
Game 5 is scheduled for Monday in San Francisco at 6:00 p.m. PT.
Jayson Tatum led four Celtics in double figures with 23 points, but it took him 23 shots to get them. Jaylen Brown needed 19 shots to get his 21 points, and Marcus Smart added 18 points on 18 shots in the loss.
The Celtics were 7 of 21 from the field in the fourth quarter, missing 10 of their last 12 attempts. Settling from the perimeter on the stretch against a stifling Warriors defense, Boston got just one free throw in the final 16½ minutes of the game – one that gave the Celtics a 91-86 lead with 7:32 to go. TO DO. Smart’s 3-pointer to beat the shot clock on a broken play gave them a 94-90 advantage two minutes later, but Curry scored half of Golden State’s 10 straight points in the next four minutes, and Boston never recovered.
“No player movement, no ball movement,” said Celtics guard Derrick White, who scored 16 points off the bench in the loss. We just need to do a better job of executing on the stretch. That’s the game right there.
The Celtics took the lead for the third straight game, as Tatum connected on his first two 3-point attempts for an 11-4 advantage. Wiggins replied with two of his own and eight points in the first nine minutes to prop up the Warriors long enough for Curry to catch fire. The Golden State point guard drained 3 straight points to give his team a 23-18 advantage, and he let the Boston crowd hear about it.
Tatum matched Curry’s 12 points in the first quarter, and Robert Williams found Grant Williams with a sideline pass in the corner for a 3-pointer that beat the buzzer and saved the Celtics a 28-27 lead for a quarter. .
Straight 3-pointers from Jordan Poole to open the second gave Golden State the lead, and he, too, pumped his chest. His 10 points in his first six minutes off the bench and four more from Curry kept the Warriors ahead until Brown’s remarkable southpaw layup in and around traffic tied the game, 39-39.
Tatum’s diving attempt for a steal on the next possession revived a crowd the Warriors had been holding off, and the Celtics used the momentum for a 49-42 advantage. They were up 54-49 at halftime, and that would have been more, if not for six turnovers in the second quarter. Golden State got 19 first-half points from Curry, 21 more from Wiggins and Poole, and still trailed by a handful as Thompson, Draymond Green and first-series starter Otto Porter Jr. combined for just five points on 12 shots. through two quarters.
“Thanks to them,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said of Golden State’s resilience. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. They weren’t going to come in and lay down. We had our chances, especially in the first half.”
The Warriors entered Game 4 having beaten the Celtics in the third quarter by a total of 43 points in their first three meetings, and five in a row from Curry and Thompson out of the second half gate kept TD Garden at its headquarters. Boston avoided a complete meltdown and even led for most of the quarter, but 14 points from Curry in the third, including four more 3-pointers, gave Golden State a 79-78 lead entering the final. frame.
The teams traded baskets for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, until Brown turned two reckless Warriors turnovers into a pair of layups and a 90-86 lead. Wiggins continued to pound the glass and four second-chance points brought Golden State down to two points. The Celtics went cold, manufacturing nothing more than Smart’s clock-beating 3-pointer on a four-minute streak, and a Thompson 3-pointer gave the Warriors the lead, 95-94. A nice Curry floater made it a three-point game.
Boston found no way to the rim, settling for just 3-pointers, and five straight misses left the door open for Curry to drill another 3-point dagger for a 100-94 lead. Al Horford’s response made it a one-possession game with 1:32 remaining, but a Kevon Looney layup and Brown turnover put Golden State back in the driver’s seat. Five consecutive free throws from Curry pushed the Warriors to the final 107-97.
“This man’s heart is incredible,” Thompson said of his longtime teammate’s 43 points (14-26 FG), 10 rebounds and four assists in a masterful 41 minutes. “The things he does we take for granted sometimes, but to go out there and put us on his back, I mean, we have to help him on Monday.”
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