Ladies and gentlemen, Mr Stephen Curry. Forty-three points and 10 rebounds and a “god mode” performance. That’s all. story over.
The head-to-head in Game 4 was perhaps exemplified by the final quarter, in which the Golden State Warriors, trailing by either a draw or a draw, were hot on the heels of the Boston Celtics. “It was just some kind of snail festival” said Draymond Green on his podcast the last 12 minutes. “They scored, we scored.”
About halfway through game four, the Warriors made a couple of reckless turnovers, the Celtics went five points up, and I stopped breathing and started ranting for this 1-3-down-of-the-series story ”-angle to ponder.
The Warriors fought back to one, but Marcus Smart hit a buzzer beater three-pointer for part of his 18 points on the night. It was 94-90 Celtics, five minutes into the game. On the other hand, Andrew Wiggins crunched under the rim, grabbing a couple of his career-best 16 rebounds and scoring a handful of his 17 points that night. Klay Thompson, not having a great game, found rhythm late for some of his 18 points and hit a huge, gigantic Three-pointers with four and a half minutes left to finally put the Warriors up by one, 95-94. They would retain the lead for the rest of the game.
But I still held my breath.
There was still a bit more Steph Curry-ing to do, though. A clutch floater was followed by a three pointer, one of his 7 triples on Friday. The Warriors were ahead by six. Al Horford hit a corner three to put it back in possession with a minute and a half to go. With the next Warriors in possession, Steph was double-teamed outside the arc and dealt it to Draymond Green, who tagged to Kevon Looney for a layup. On the Celtics’ next possession, Jaylen Brown, who played an outstanding game and had 21 points from 19 shots, turned the ball over with less than a minute to go.
I decided to breathe again.
Then it was Steph Curry free throws for the rest of the night. In a game that featured multiple lead changes and some runs on either side of the ball, neither team ever had a double-digit advantage until Curry got to the line. The Warriors won Game 4 107-97 to level the series 2-2 and returned to the Chase Center on Monday. It was a spectacular win that culminated in a fantastic game with Stephen Curry sitting on the stack as if on a gilded throne.
“He put us on our backs [and] gave us a much needed win – a game we had to play,” said Steph’s Draymond Green at the post-match press conference. “He came out and showed why he’s one of the best players to ever play this game.”
Oh yeah, wasn’t there something about Stephen Curry’s foot? In the news?
On Thursday, Steph was peppered with questions: “How has the last 24 hours been for your foot? Did you have a picture taken? How did your foot feel immediately after stacking and during subsequent possessions? If this injury happened during the regular season, would you see yourself sitting outside? How bad would you say your pain is? Any concerns about how this might affect your mobility?”
Steph shrugged. “Ah… I’ll play.”
If Curry was in any way bothered by his foot, it wasn’t obvious, or maybe his ointment was simply meant to serve to score 40+ points. Were there any mind games? Did Steph take a page from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War?: “Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak.”
The other big story unrelated to Steph Curry was Draymond Green’s roughly four-minute absence late in the fourth quarter. After missing a few shots – he was 1-7 from the field for 2 points – Green seemed a bit hesitant on the offensive edge. “I’m having issues,” Green said on his podcast. “I played a better game overall tonight, [but] I definitely had problems off the field and on offense.”
As the Warriors fought their way back into the game in that unsuccessful fourth quarter, Green was on the bench while Kevon Looney worked. (Looney had 11 rebounds and 6 points.) “They’re definitely never excited to come out with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter of a competitive game,” Draymond said at the post-game press conference.
However, Green’s influence was felt on his return – he walked away with 9 rebounds, 8 assists and 4 steals that night.
“Draymond, who might not have had his best game, made it gigantic plays there at the end,” said Klay Thompson at the press conference after the game. “Huge rebounds and huge stops. It doesn’t matter how you shoot the ball or what your numbers say. The only thing that really matters now is the win.”
Sometime in the fourth quarter last night, dizzy from lack of oxygen, I remembered enjoying the extraordinary competition I was witnessing. I might even have smiled. Win or lose wow what a game.
“It was a brave win that was a lot of fun, believe it or not – no matter how queasy or emotional the fans get,” Klay Thompson told reporters.
Klay was obviously talking about me.
Top image: Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Steph Curry Goes Nuclear as Warriors Eke Ahead of Celtics in Fourth Quarter to Claim Game 4, Even Series 2-2 Source link Steph Curry Goes Nuclear as Warriors Eke Ahead of Celtics in Fourth Quarter to Claim Game 4, Even Series 2-2