After three games that were complete blowouts, the fourth and deciding game of the NBA Finals was finally a nail-biter. After suffering a setback in one of the previous postseason games, Golden State has come back to win every game it has played since, including Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Golden State tied the series with the Celtics on Friday night in front of a hostile crowd in Boston, bringing the score to 2-2, and regaining the benefit of playing on their home floor. Stephen Curry led all scorers with 43 points to lead Golden State to a 107-97 victory. Klay Thompson added 18 points, while Andrew Wiggins finished with 17 points.
Fans of the Celtics started to exit the stadium as the Warriors continued to extend their advantage in the game’s closing minutes. When Curry was standing at the free-throw line with 19.1 seconds remaining in the game, fans in the upper deck of the stadium could be heard chanting “M.V.P.” as he shot the free throws.
The fifth and deciding game of the series will be played in San Francisco on Monday, followed by game six being played in Boston on Thursday. The Golden State Warriors’ players were jeered loudly by the fans from the moment they entered the court for pregame warmups.
An hour before the start of the game, a few of spectators in the lower bowl jeered at Thompson as he walked out onto the court. He gestured toward them to show acknowledgement and urged them to raise their volume. A few minutes later, Draymond Green came to even greater eruptions of booing from the crowd than his predecessor had received. Thompson had condemned the audience the night before for yelling profanities at Green, and he had done so again this night.
The Celtics came into the game with a 2-1 advantage in the series and harbouring hopes of inflicting the Warriors their first two consecutive defeats in the NBA Playoffs this season. Before the game on Friday, Golden State had won all five games that preceded defeats in this postseason’s tournament.
Otto Porter Jr. was inserted into Golden State’s starting lineup in place of Kevon Looney for the first time in this series. This was the first time that Golden State made a change to their starting lineup. The blowout nature of this year’s playoffs has been exemplified by the fact that the Boston Celtics have participated in a number of them, including all three that took place during the championship series. Boston triumphed in Game 1 by a score of 12 points, fell in Game 2 by 19 points, and triumphed in Game 3 by 16 points.
However, from the very beginning of Game 4, it was clear that this would be an intensely fought fight that would maintain its appeal right up to the very finish. Curry and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics both scored 12 points in the first quarter, and Curry yelled at the fans after making one of the two 3-pointers he attempted during the period.
At the buzzer, Tatum dribbled the ball into the paint and passed it to Robert Williams III. Robert Williams III then dribbled the ball out to Grant Williams, who made a 3-point shot from the corner. Following Grant Williams’ 3-pointer, the advantage for Boston was extended to 28-27 going into the second quarter.
Jaylen Brown, a guard with the Celtics, was given the opportunity to shine during the second quarter. When he was on the floor during the third quarter, Boston had a nine-point advantage against Golden State in scoring and he contributed 10 points to that advantage. By the end of the first half, Boston had a slim advantage of 54-49 over its opponents.
When Thompson picked up his fourth foul with 5 minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the game, the audience began to yell at him the same offensive slogan that they had directed at Green in Game 3, but this time they substituted “Klay” for “Draymond.” Golden State took the lead for good with a 3-pointer from Thompson little under a minute later, putting them up 95-94. During the last five minutes of the game, Boston was only able to score one.
After Game 3, there was substantial uncertainty over whether or not Curry would be able to participate in Game 4, due to the fact that he damaged his foot in a pileup while wrestling for a lost ball. On Friday morning, Curry took part in Golden State’s shootaround and was then given the green light to play.
After Stephen Curry’s performance on Friday night, the first question that was asked of Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr in the postgame press conference was a lighthearted one about how well Curry’s foot seemed to be holding up. Kerr laughed.