2022 NBA Finals: Warriors vs. Celtics

24 thoughts on Game 4 of 2022 NBA Finals

Instant observations and real-time tweets from Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals as it happened in Boston on Friday night.

Stephen Curry finishes with 43 points, 10 rebounds and seven 3-pointers to send the Finals back to the Bay Area tied at 2-2.

Behind a combined 77 points from Jaylen Brown (27), Jayson Tatum (26) and Marcus Smart (24), the Celtics were able to withstand a game-high 31 points from Stephen Curry and another third-quarter blitz by Golden State to take a 2-1 series lead in front of their home fans at TD Garden.

As Game 4 gets set to tip off, can Boston take a commanding 3-1 lead or will Golden State send the Finals back to San Francisco even at 2-2? Here are 24 thoughts on Game 4 as it unfolded in Boston.

24. We have a change to the Warriors’ starting lineup as Otto Porter Jr. will replace Kevon Looney. Through three games in this series, Looney is a team-best plus-15 in his 63 minutes on the court, while Porter is second at plus-10 in 59 minutes. Porter is shooting 7-for-9 in the Finals, with all nine of his attempts coming from 3-point range. Will he get the same open looks as a starter in Game 4 as he did in the first three games?

And how much will Looney’s absence affect the Warriors on the boards? He leads all players in the Finals with 23 rebounds through the first three games. In Game 3, Boston outrebounded Golden State 47-31 overall and 15-6 on the offensive glass.

23. In Game 3, Boston improved to 7-0 following a loss in this year’s playoffs. Now it’s Golden State’s turn to try staying undefeated following a defeat this postseason. The Warriors are 3-5 on the road in the playoffs, while Boston is 6-4 at home following Wednesday’s Game 3 win.

22. How hurt is Curry? We know he’s going to play, but will the foot injury he suffered late in the fourth quarter of Game 3 limit him at all in terms of his mobility, quickness and explosiveness? Curry is averaging a series-best 31.3 points per game – Brown is second at 22.7 – and the Warriors have needed every bit of their superstar’s offense. The foot hasn’t affected Curry’s pregame routine, but will it be the same story when things are full speed?

21. Another quick start for the Celtics, who jump out to an 11-4 lead after just three minutes. So far the lineup change is not paying off for the Warriors. Golden State is 0-for-4 from 3-point range, and Robert Williams III is dominating the glass and protecting the rim with blocks like this.

Curry battled foul trouble throughout Game 3. He picks up his first foul just 1:04 into Game 4 with a swipe down on a Tatum jumper. A good sign for Curry: his foot looks fine so far.

20. After an ice-cold start from beyond the arc, missing their first five attempts, the Warriors have made five straight triples, including back-to-back step-backs from Curry to put Golden State up by five with two minutes to play in the quarter.

Curry leads all players with 10 points, followed by Tatum with nine and Andrew Wiggins with eight. Wiggins has a pair of 3-pointers and a nice step-back shot from the post; he’s looked great so far as a scoring complement to Curry.

19. The Celtics score four straight points out of the timeout, including another putback from Williams III; he’s got five points, five boards and one block already. The teams are trading baskets down the stretch of the opening quarter. A Curry runner is followed by a Tatum 3-pointer (he’s 3-for-3 from deep so far), then Jordan Poole got this to go against the Time Lord’s defensive wall:

18. Boston leads 28-27 at the end of the first quarter following Grant Williams’ corner 3 in the final second off a great pass from Williams III. Curry and Tatum scored 12 points apiece to lead their respective teams.

Amazing first-quarter analysis from Steve Kerr here:

17. Curry sits to start the second quarter after playing the entire first. Who will provide the scoring for Golden State as he rests? Both teams are cold to start the second with zero points in the first two minutes of action.

Poole doesn’t stay cold for long as he drops back-to-back 3-pointers in the span of 20 seconds to force a Boston timeout with 9:27 to play in the half and the Warriors leading by five. Drop coverage continues to haunt the Celtics against the Warriors’ 3-point shooters.

16. In the span of 80 seconds, Brown hits a pair of 3-pointers, including a potential four-point play after being hit by Klay Thompson on the challenge.

Brown misses the free throw, which has been an issue for the Celtics as they are just 7-for-12 at the foul line so far. He’s up to 10 points after this incredible scoop shot around Draymond Green’s contest:

15. Sometimes it’s not a ferocious dunk or a 30-foot bomb that gets the crowd hyped up. The TD Garden crowd is on fire after watching Tatum dive for a loose ball along the sideline and go sliding into his teammates on the Celtics bench. He couldn’t save it, but the effort play has raised the energy in the building another notch.

14. Boston is making a push late in the first half, ripping off a 10-0 run to turn a three-point deficit into a seven-point lead with just under three minutes remaining. The teams trade 5-0 spurts in the final three minutes before Looney closes the half with a tip dunk for his first points of the game.

13. We’re at the half and the Celtics are up 54-49. Curry leads all scorers with 19 points, while Tatum tops the Celtics with 16. Brown has 12 points and Derrick White leads the Boston bench with 10. Wiggins has 11 points for Golden State, while Poole provided 10 points off the bench in just nine minutes.

12. The Warriors open the half with a quick 5-0 spurt in just 45 seconds — a pull-up jumper from Curry, an open 3 from Thompson — and Boston’s halftime advantage is gone. Is this the beginning of another dominant third quarter from the Warriors?

Marcus Smart responds with a personal 5-0 spurt comprising a 3-pointer followed by an uncontested dunk after stripping Draymond clean. Green is struggling tonight.

11. This exclusive club is sharing the court tonight:

10. The Celtics are trying to hold the lead in the third as they make some impressive shots against tough Warriors defense. Check out this finish by Brown against Green. Sometimes great offense beats great defense.

9. If Curry is already the best shooter of all time, then where do we rank third-quarter Steph? He’s putting on another ridiculous shooting display, drilling his third 3-pointer of the frame and fifth of the game to give him 30 points on the night and tie the game at 73.

8. Curry scores 14 of his 33 points in the third to give Golden State a 79-78 lead heading into the final quarter. The trend of Golden State owning the third quarter continues as they outscore Boston 30-24.

Curry’s final 3-pointer of the quarter was great recognition by Gary Payton II, who turned a good shot (open corner 3 for him) into a great shot (open corner 3 for the greatest shooter in NBA history).

What will the Celtics have for their response? So far in the series, they have outscored the Warriors by 40 points in the fourth.

7. Curry begins the fourth on the bench. How long can he afford to sit?

He might have earned an extra minute or two after Klay’s triple ties the game back up with 9:55 to play. But Kerr isn’t about to gamble following a Wiggins turnover on Golden State’s ensuing possession, sending Curry right back out for the stretch run.

6. Brown converts back-to-back driving layups off Warriors turnovers to give the Celtics a four-point lead with 7:32 left. The Celtics get a bonus free throw from Smart to extend the lead to five as he was fouled by Poole while Brown scored.

5. We officially have clutch time as we’re under five minutes with Boston up by two.

Make that Warriors up one following a Thompson 3 off a great touch pass from Curry. Brown can’t answer with a 3 of his own. Curry’s runner over Williams III gives Golden State a three-point lead. Timeout, Celtics. An impressive 7-0 run by the Warriors as they look to avoid the dreaded 3-1 deficit.

4. After each of the first three games of the Finals were decided by double digits, it’s great to have one coming down to the wire. We need pressure-filled moments in the Finals and it doesn’t get much bigger than this.

Smart misses two 3-pointers on one possession — both were good looks — and Wiggins secures the rebound for his career-best 15th board, giving Golden State possession with a three-point lead and just over two minutes to play.

The Warriors turn it over, but Boston bricks another open 3-pointer — this one from Al Horford following great defense by Thompson to close Brown’s driving lane and force him to pass. Curry answers with his seventh 3-pointer of the night, giving Golden State a six-point advantage with 1:42 to play.

3. Despite misfiring on the previous possession, Horford shows no hesitation and drains the corner 3 to cut the Warriors’ lead in half with 90 seconds to play. Boston isn’t done yet.

Boston traps Curry beyond the 3-point line, forcing someone else to score. He finds Draymond on the roll, and Green draws and dishes to Looney for the easy layup. Warriors back up five.

Another great defensive possession by Klay as he forces a turnover by Brown. Golden State up five with the ball and less than a minute to play.

Curry drives the lane and is fouled on the layup attempt. He heads to the line to make it a three-possession game with 46 seconds to play. The Celtics will challenge the foul. This is a huge review here.

Boston loses the challenge and its final timeout. Curry’s free throws give him 40 points and make it a seven-point game. The Celtics are going to need some magic here as Golden State has its largest lead of the game.

But White airballs a corner 3 and the Warriors take a timeout with 25.5 seconds left as the Boston faithful start filing out of TD Garden.

2. Down four with five minutes to play, the Warriors have engineered a 15-3 run to storm ahead by seven with 20 seconds left. Curry sinks two more free throws, finishing with 43 points on the night.

Tatum, who scored just three points on 1-for-5 shooting in the fourth, slams the ball off the court as the clock hits 0:00. The Finals are now tied 2-2 heading back to the Bay for a pivotal Game 5 on Monday (9 ET, ABC).

The Warriors extend their record for winning at least one road game in 27 straight playoff series.

1. Praise rolls in from current and former players for Curry and the Warriors on their big Game 4 win.

And we’ll end it with Nic Batum borrowing Kerr’s thoughts from his in-game interview earlier:

The Warriors can enjoy this win for now, but it’s back to San Francisco to prepare for the biggest game of the series. It’s best of three now. Monday can’t come soon enough.