NBA Finals

Stephen Curry erupts for 43 as Warriors down Celtics, even Finals


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Stephen Curry erupts for 43 as Warriors down Celtics, even Finals

GRITTY. Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Celtics guard Marcus Smart go for the ball in Game 4.

Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Bucking an injured foot, a sensational Steph Curry takes over as the Warriors close out Game 4 with a dominating 17-3 burst and level the series against the Celtics

Stephen Curry recorded 43 points and 10 rebounds and the Golden State 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, June 10 (Saturday, June 11, Manila time).

Curry made 14-of-26 field goal attempts – including 7-of-14 from three-point range – while moving with ease on the left foot he injured late in Game 3. His previous high in this year’s postseason was 34.

“We knew how big this game was,” Curry said.

“I just thank God that I avoided significant injury. And for us to come out and do what we did and go home? That five-and-a-half hour flight home just got a little bit better.”

Curry put the game on ice with his seventh three pointer, which gave the Warriors a six-point cushion with less than two minutes to go in the back-and-forth contest.

Andrew Wiggins provided crucial support for Curry, scoring 17 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds while playing excellent defense.

Klay Thompson scored 18 points and Jordan Poole added 14 points for Golden State.

Jayson Tatum had 23 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 blocked shots for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, Marcus Smart added 18, Derrick White had 16 for Boston and Robert Williams III collected 12 rebounds.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Monday at San Francisco.

Golden State finished the game with a dominating 17-3 burst over the final five minutes.

Smart drained a three-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 three-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 three-pointer to make it a six-point margin with 1:42 to go.

Al Horford ended the Celtics’ drought by hitting a triple 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.

Curry’s brilliance helped cover for subpar play from some of his supporting cast.

“He wasn’t letting us lose, that’s what it boils down to,” said Draymond Green, who is aiming to win his fourth championships with Curry and Thompson.

“I could tell in his demeanor the last couple days that he was going to come out with that type of fire. And he did, and we were all able to follow it.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was awestruck by Curry’s performance.

“Just stunning,” he said.

“This is the strongest physically he’s ever been in his career, and it’s allowing him to do what he’s doing.”

Thompson said it was Curry’s best Finals performance ever.

“This was nearly a must-win game, and to go out there and shoot as efficiently as he did, and grab 10 rebounds and they were attacking him on defense?” he said.

“His conditioning is second-to-none in this league.”

In the previous 30 instances when a Finals has been tied 2-2, the team that wins Game Five has gone on to win the series 73% of the time (22-8).

Kerr said the series will only get more intense as it shifts back to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday.

“I would expect both teams to bring every ounce of energy and emotion the rest of the way,” he said.

Golden State made 44% of its shots and was 15-of-43 (34.9%) from behind the arc. Looney grabbed 11 boards.

The Celtics shot 40% from the field, including 15-of-38 (39.5%) from three-point range.

The Warriors scored the first 5 points of the third quarter to tie the score at 54, but Boston responded with a 9-2 push to move ahead by 7.

Curry scored 14 points in the quarter and made four three-pointers, with three of the treys coming in the final 4:19. The last one gave Golden State a 79-78 edge with 58.5 seconds left in the stanza.

Tatum had 16 points as the Celtics led 54-49 at halftime. Curry had 19 before the break for the Warriors. –

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