• Full coverage: 2022 NBA Finals
SAN FRANCISCO – By now you’ve heard all about Stephen Curry’s incendiary performance in Game 4 at TD Garden.
But let’s take a moment to salute teammate Andrew Wiggins, who rises to 5th place in today’s edition of our 2022 NBA Finals Race MVP rankings after ripping off 16 boards, a career, in Game 4. In doing so, he became the first Golden State Warrior since Nate Thurmond in 1967 to finish with at least 17 points and 16 rebounds in an NBA Finals.
“I just know last game they got past us and got all the offensive rebounds,” he said. “I just wanted to come in and be aggressive on the boards and try to help.”
Wiggins produced such a monstrous production in what we can safely consider the most important outing of his career helping Golden State even the Finals at 2-2 heading home for Game 5.
Consider also the former No. 1 pick’s impact on defense, where he’s often tasked with slowing down Celtics superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
“Wiggs was fantastic“Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “To face Boston, you have to face Tatum and Brown, and they’re just powerful, talented players. They constantly attack you.
Still, Wiggins continues to make it an uphill battle for the duo to produce when Boston needs them most.
In four head-to-head games against Tatum in this series, Wiggins limited the forward to 34 points on 13-for-39 shooting, while Brown scored just seven on 2-for-8 shooting when he was guarded by the Canadiens.
The 27-year-old finished plus-20 and grabbed six of his rebounds in the deciding fourth quarter.
“Wiggs did what he did all through the playoffs: make it hard for the opposing starter to score,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “[He] rebounded the ball, which he did throughout the playoffs.
And now, the Top 5 of our 2022 NBA Finals Race MVP ladder after Game 4:
1.Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals stats: 34.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.8 apg
What can we say that we don’t already have regarding Curry’s nearly flawless performance in Game 4? We saw where this was heading early, when the playmaker nailed a start 3 which forced a Celtics timeout. This just continued in 14 points third quarterthen a ultra-efficient end frame as Golden State went on a 17-3 run in the final five minutes. You could legitimately argue that Curry has already won NBA Finals MVP just four games in this series. But of course, we still have to let that play out on the court as we get back to the heart of this Monday NBA Finals dogfight at Chase Center.
2. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
NBA Finals stats: 22.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.8 apg
Usually aggressive, Brown took his first shot of the night with 7:31 left in the first quarter and finished with just two points before scoring 10 in the second quarter. Brown eclipsed the 500-point mark in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, but he drove in just nine points on 4-for-11 shooting in the second half of what was a missed opportunity for Boston. Brown tried to offensive in stride, but the Celtics need more of him and Tatum as the series returns to San Francisco. “On nights like tonight, it’s hard to take a loss at home,” Brown said.
3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
NBA Finals stats: 22.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.8 apg
We’ve seen it in flashes, but his colleague Shaun Powell notes that Boston is still waiting for the emergence of the superstar who shone in the previous three rounds of the playoffs. In the second half of the first four games, Tatum is 19-under averaging 8.3 points from 26.5 percent from the floor and 21.4 percent from 3-point range. “Sometimes he looks for fouls,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “It’s a team that charges in some games. He finds outlets, shoots two, three guys. Tatum also had six turnovers in Game 4, and he’s averaging 3.5 in this series.
4.Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals stats: 17.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg
Thompson joined Curry and Green in winning 19 career NBA Finals contests to tie San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for the most Finals wins by any trio in the last 50 seasons. . Thompson and Curry (18 points) nearly outclassed the entire Celtics roster (19 points) in the fourth quarter as they combined to go 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-4 from deep. Defensively, Thompson simply couldn’t be beaten by the dribble down the stretch. “To be out there and compete at this point, like, wow, I can’t believe I’m here considering where I was at this time last year,” Thompson said.
5. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals stats: 16.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.5 apg
Give Wiggins credit for helping the Warriors improve to 2-13 all-time in the playoffs in Boston as they earned their first home playoff win over the Celtics since 1960. If you Haven’t noticed yet, Golden State’s fortunes seem largely hinged on Wiggins’ performance. In Game 3, Boston crushed the Warriors on the boards (47-31) with the forward producing just seven rebounds in a 116-100 loss. In Game 4, his 13 defensive rebounds helped the Warriors limit the Celtics to 12 second-chance points, compared to his own team’s 19.
* * *
Michael C. Wright is Senior Writer for NBA.com. You can email him herefind his archives here and follow him on Twitter.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs, or Turner Broadcasting.