BOSTON — For two days, Golden State forward Draymond Green saw him at teammate Stephen Curry’s house. The fire Curry plays with isn’t always apparent to outsiders, but Green felt it was simmering inside.
Their team was down in the NBA Finals, 2-1, and Curry wasn’t going to let them lose Game 4.
Friday night, everyone also saw this emotion.
After one of his two 3-pointers in the first quarter, Curry shouted into the crowd full of Boston Celtics fans who had shown up early to harass him and his teammates. There was a long way to go in the game, one of the finest of his illustrious career, but he screamed to send a message.
“I felt like we just had to let everyone know we were here tonight,” Curry said.
He added: “You can want it so badly, you embarrass yourself a little bit, and everyone feels a little bit of pressure, and it can go the opposite way. I wanted to try to build on that in a positive direction for us to start the game.
Friday night in front of a hostile crowd in Boston, Golden State tied its series with the Celtics, 2-2, and regained home field advantage. Golden State won, 107-97.
Curry scored 43 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, becoming the third Warriors player to have at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in an NBA Finals game; Rick Barry did it in 1967 and Kevin Durant in 2018. Curry, Michael Jordan and LeBron James are the only players 34 and older to score 40 or more points in an NBA Finals game.
As Golden State increased their lead in the final minutes of Game 4, Celtics fans started to leave. When Curry was at the free throw line with 19.1 seconds left in the game, a chant of “MVP” could be heard on the top deck of the arena.
The series returns to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday, followed by Game 6 in Boston on Thursday.
The crowd booed the Golden State players heartily, starting in their pre-game warm-ups.
When Klay Thompson appeared on the pitch an hour before the game, a group of fans in the lower bowl booed him. He recognized them with his arms and encouraged them to get stronger. Green emerged minutes later and drew an even louder outburst of boos. Two nights prior, Thompson had slammed the crowd for chanting obscenities at Green.
The Celtics entered the game with the aspiration of handing Golden State its first straight loss in this year’s playoffs. Prior to Friday’s game, Golden State had won all five games following losses this postseason.
But Boston understands the fierce grip a 3-1 lead can hold in a best-of-seven series.
“We understand that we have a chance to do something special, to put the pressure on tonight,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said before the game.
The Celtics gained confidence from the way they played last game.
“We have to replicate what we did in Game 3,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said Thursday. “We have reduced our turnover. We reduced our second chance points, offensive rebounds. We just controlled the game, the game we wanted to play.
Golden State changed its starting roster for the first time this series in Game 4, replacing Kevon Looney with Otto Porter Jr.
This season’s playoffs have been characterized by blowouts, and the Celtics have played in several of them, including the three that came in the Finals. Boston won Game 1 by 12 points, lost Game 2 by 19, and won Game 3 by 16.
But from the start, Game 4 showed that it could be a hard-fought game that would stay interesting until the end.
Boston’s Curry and Jayson Tatum each scored 12 points in the first quarter.
“Everyone was emotional tonight,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “Led 2-1, we had to come out with a bit of desperation and more physicality than we showed in Game 3. So it was a feeling of aggression and emotion on the scale of the game. ‘crew. It started right from the opening tip.
“Steph obviously doesn’t show much emotion, but a night like this justified it.”
The first quarter ended with Tatum passing the ball in the paint to Robert Williams III, who sent it to Grant Williams in the corner for a 3. Grant Williams’ 3 gave Boston a 28-27 lead before the second quarter.
By half-time, the lead had changed hands six times and the score had been tied five times.
It was Celtics goaltender Jaylen Brown’s turn to shine in the second quarter. He scored 10 points and Boston trailed Golden State by nine points when he was on the field that quarter.
Boston had slightly increased its halftime lead to 54-49.
But Golden State wouldn’t go easy, especially not with Curry available. He had 33 points going into the fourth quarter, after scoring 14 in the third.
The game was tied at 86 with eight minutes left.
Thompson committed his fourth foul with 5:33 left in the game. The crowd chanted the same lewd chant at him they had led against Green in Game 3, but replaced ‘Draymond’ with ‘Klay’. About a minute later, Thompson’s 3-pointer gave Golden State a 95-94 lead.
Boston only scored once in the final five minutes of the game.
There was some doubt after Game 3 that Curry would be available for Game 4 because he injured his foot in a pileup battling for a loose ball. Curry participated in Golden State’s shootout on Friday morning and was cleared to play.
After Curry’s performance on Friday night, the second-highest-scoring final game of his career, the first question asked of Kerr at the post-game press conference was cheeky about how he thought Curry’s foot was holding up. the shot. Kerr burst out laughing.
“I think he was really working there,” Kerr joked. “He really struggled.”
Thompson was also asked about Curry first when he took the post-game podium.
“This man’s heart is amazing,” Thompson said. “You know, 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. Wow.”