BOSTON – For two days, Golden State striker Draymond Green watched her in teammate Stephen Curry. The fire that Carrie plays isn’t always visible to outsiders, but Green felt it was boiling inside.
Their team was in the NBA Finals, 2-1, and Curry wasn’t going to let them lose Game Four.
On Friday night, everyone saw those feelings, too.
After one of his two throws in the first quarter of 3, Curry screamed at the crowd filled with Boston Celtics fans who showed up early to chase after him and his teammates. There was a long way to go in the game, one of his best illustrious careers, but he cried out to send a message.
“I felt like we had to let everyone know we were here tonight,” said Carey.
He added, “You can like it really bad, get in the way a little bit, everyone feels a little bit under pressure, and it can go in the opposite direction. I wanted to try to take advantage of that in a positive direction for us to start the game.”
On Friday night in front of a hostile crowd in Boston, Golden State tied the Celtics 2-2, regaining the stadium advantage at home. Golden State won 107-97.
Curry scored 43 points and had 10 rebounds, becoming the third Warriors player to have at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in an NBA Finals game. Rick Barry did it in 1967, as did Kevin Durant in 2018. Carey, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James are the only players 34 and older to score 40 or more points in an NBA Finals game.
When Golden State consolidated its lead in the final minutes of Game 4, Celtics fans started to leave. When Curry was at the free throw line 19.1 seconds before the match, the chant “MVP” could be heard upstairs in the arena.
The series will return to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday, followed by Game 6 in Boston on Thursday.
Fans booed the Golden State players, beginning with the pre-game warm-up.
When Klay Thompson appeared on the field an hour before the game, a group of fans in the lower bowl booed him. He recognized them with his arms and encouraged them to raise their voice. Green appeared a few minutes later and directed a louder explosion to shout. Two nights earlier, Thompson blasted the crowd for shouting insults at Greene.
The Celtics entered the game with ambition, handing Golden State their first consecutive loss in the playoffs of the year. Prior to Friday’s game, Golden State had won all five post-loss games this season.
But Boston understood the fierce grip a 3-1 lead in a better-of-seven series could hold.
“We understand we have a chance to do something special, and we’re putting some pressure on tonight,” Celtics coach Im Odoka said before the game.
The Celtics gained confidence from the way they played in their last game.
“We have to repeat what we did in Game Three,” Celtics goalkeeper Marcus Smart said on Thursday. “We reduced our turnover. We reduced the second chance points, the offensive rebound. We only controlled the game, the game we wanted to play.”
Golden State made a change to the starting lineup for the first time in the series in Game 4, replacing Kevon Looney with Otto Porter Jr.
The playoffs this season have been marked by explosions, and the Celtics have played in several of them, including the three that came during the Finals. Boston won the first game with 12 points, lost the second game with 19 and won the third game with 16.
But early on, Game 4 showed promise that it could be a hotly contested match that will remain interesting until the end.
Boston’s Curry and Jason Tatum each scored 12 points in the first quarter.
“Everyone was emotional tonight,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. “After the 2-1 loss, we had to be a little more hopeless and more fit than we showed in the third game. So there was a sense of aggressiveness and emotion across the team. It started right from the opening edge.
“Steve obviously doesn’t usually show much emotion, but a night like tonight justifies it.”
The first quarter ended with Tatum passing the ball to the paint to Robert Williams III, who sent it to Grant Williams in the corner for 3. Grant Williams 3 gave Boston a 28-27 lead before the second quarter came.
By the end of the first half, the lead was changed six times and the score tied five times.
It was Celtics goalkeeper Jaylen Brown’s turn to shine in the second quarter. He scored 10 points and Boston edged Golden State by nine when he was on the field during that quarter.
Boston expanded its lead a bit in the first half, to 54-49.
But Golden State won’t go quiet, especially with Curry available. He had 33 points before the fourth quarter, after scoring 14 in the third quarter.
The match was tied at 86, with eight minutes remaining.
Thompson made his fourth foul before 5:33 left. The crowd cheered him the same obscene chant they directed at Green in Game 3, but they replaced “Draymond” with “Klay.” About a minute later, the Thompson Triple Pointer gave Golden State a 95-94 lead.
Boston only scored once in the last five minutes of the game.
There was some doubt after Game 3 that Curry would be available for Game 4 because he injured his foot with a buildup while fighting for a loose ball. Curry participated in the Golden State shooting tour on Friday morning and was allowed to play.
After Curry’s performance on Friday night, the second highest-grossing final of his career, the first question Kerr was asked at the post-match press conference was a cheeky question about how he thought Curry’s foot held up. Kerr laughed.
“I think he was already working there,” Kerr said sarcastically. “He really struggled.”
Thompson was also asked about Curry first when he took the post-match podium.
“This guy’s heart is incredible,” Thompson said. “You know, the things he does we take for granted from time to time, but to go in there and put us on his back, I mean, we have to help him out on Monday. Great.”
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