Stephen Curry’s sore left foot didn’t turn out to be even a small hindrance.
The Golden State Warriors couldn’t afford a misstep, and Curry put them on solid footing. He recorded 43 points and 10 rebounds as the Warriors evened the NBA Finals at two games apiece with a 107-97 victory over the host Boston Celtics in Game 4 on Friday night.
The output was Curry’s second-best effort in NBA Finals play. His high of 47 occurred in Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
Longtime teammate Klay Thompson said the effort was the best in the playoffs of Curry’s career.
“I don’t rate my performances,” the 34-year-old Curry said. “I just want to win the game. …
“For the most part, I didn’t think of (the foot). It doesn’t take up too much mental space. I felt like I could do what I wanted on the court.”
Curry made 14 of 26 field-goal attempts — including 7 of 14 from 3-point range — while moving with ease on the left foot he injured late in Game 3. Curry is averaging 34.3 points in the series and has made 25 of 51 3-point attempts.
“Steph has carried us through so many lulls,” Thompson said. “Come Game 5, we’re going to have to help him out. Asking him to score 43 nightly is ridiculous. It’s just special to watch what he does. He does it so often that you kind of take it for granted. But I’m mesmerized just like the rest of the crowd was. It looks effortless.”
It was clear when Curry scored 12 points in the opening quarter that the foot wasn’t a problem. Boston’s Al Horford caused the injury when he fell on Curry in Game 3.
“He was incredible,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “He put us on his back and willed us to a win in a game that we had to have. He came out and showed why he is one of the best players to ever play this game.”
Thompson scored 18 points and Andrew Wiggins contributed 17 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for the Warriors. Jordan Poole added 14 points for Golden State, which finished the game with a dominating 17-3 burst over the final five minutes.
Jayson Tatum had 23 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocked shots for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, Marcus Smart added 18, Derrick White had 16 and Robert Williams III collected 12 rebounds for Boston.
Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Monday at San Francisco.
Tatum felt that Boston missed out on a big opportunity by letting a late lead slip away.
“You have to give them credit, they hit some big shots,” Tatum said. “We obviously felt like we had put ourselves in position to win the game, and there are a lot of things we wish we had done differently.”
Celtics coach Ime Udoka noted that his club is in familiar territory.
“We’ve had to do it the difficult way, we’re battle-tested,” Udoka said. “It could have been an easier road if we get the win tonight.”
Smart drained a 3-pointer to give Boston a 94-90 lead with 5:18 remaining, but the Warriors answered with 10 consecutive points. Wiggins scored on a putback, Thompson hit a 3-pointer and Curry sank a floater for a 97-94 edge with 3:49 to play.
Neither team scored for more than two minutes before Curry buried his seventh 3-pointer to make it a six-point margin with 1:42 to go.
Horford ended the Celtics’ drought by hitting a 3-pointer with 1:32 left. However, Golden State’s Kevon Looney made a layup with 1:04 to play and Curry sank 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal it.
“I think we got a little stagnant,” White said of the late-game troubles. “Everybody was standing around looking at whoever had the ball. No player movement, no ball movement. We have to do a better job executing down the stretch.”
Golden State made 44 percent of its shots and was 15 of 43 (34.9 percent) from behind the arc. Looney grabbed 11 boards for the Warriors, who logged a 55-42 rebounding advantage.
The Celtics shot 40 percent from the field, including 15 of 38 (39.5 percent) from 3-point range.
Tatum had 16 points as the Celtics led 54-49 at halftime. Curry had 19 before the break for the Warriors.
Curry scored 14 points in the third quarter and made four 3-pointers, the last one giving Golden State a 79-78 edge with 58.5 seconds left in the stanza.
–Field Level Media