In a must-win game four in Boston on Friday night Wardell Stephen Curry II did what champions and legendary players do. He did everything in his power to ensure his team wouldn’t lose. He scored 43 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to tie the NBA Finals at two games apiece, making it a best-of-three series. That the Warriors are tied in this series and not down is all because of Curry. But who will help him secure the core’s fourth title?
“Felt like we just had to let everybody know that we were here tonight,” Curry said. “Whether that’s their crowd, their team, our team, whoever wants to see that energy and that fire, we feed off of that.”
▪️ 43 PTS
▪️ 10 REB
▪️ 4 AST
▪️ 14-26 FG
▪️ 7-14 3PT
A Finals masterpiece by Steph Curry.
— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) June 11, 2022
In these Finals, Curry is averaging 34 points, six rebounds and three assists per game on 50/49/85 shooting splits. His eFG% is an astounding 63.3%.
But of the core group of Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, he’s the only one holding up his end of the bargain. Curry has been a one-man band against the Boston Celtics’ elite defense, but that can’t continue if the Golden State Warriors want to win a title.
Green has been abysmal these Finals outside of his game 2 performance. He’s played so poorly that head coach Steve Kerr limited his minutes in the fourth quarter of game 4.
“I’m definitely never thrilled coming out of the game with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter in a must-win game. I’m not going to sit here and act like I was thrilled. I’m a competitor,” Green said postgame. “But, at the end of the day, if that’s what Coach decides, then you roll with it. You know, I had to keep my head in the game and, you know, whenever I went back in, try to make some plays. That was just my mindset. You know, don’t make too much of it. I’ve always been of the — on the bandwagon of if you’ve got something and it’s rolling, you stick with it. So it is what it is.”
It’s been so bad for Green his mother, Mary Babers Green, tweeted she has no idea what’s wrong with her son.
Please ppl stop asking me what’s wrong with Dray… I DONT KNOW! Maybe this is a CLONE! Lmbo WHERE IS THE Draymond that helped get us here!! Hmmmm I have never seen this either!
— Mary B (@BabersGreen) June 11, 2022
Curry’s fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson has also been bad this series. He’s had moments and hit some key shots. But he’s been a shell of his former self. For the Finals, he’s averaging 17 points per game on 35/34/100 splits and he’s not able to dial up peak defensive intensity on a consistent basis. To be fair, that is understandable for a man coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon and torn ACL.
Nevertheless, it is the Finals and Curry is going to need some help. It’s clear what the Celtics’ defensive strategy is: Work to eliminate the Warriors’ off-ball movement and second side action. Force them to go middle pick and roll and heliocentric with Curry.
That may sound crazy because it’s Curry we are talking about. But the idea is that type of play style is not the Warriors’ preferred method of play, and is physically taxing. Plus, when Curry is on defense they get him involved in every action to wear on him. The hope is that as the series advances to game 6 or a possible game 7, Curry will be out of gas by that point.
A bold strategy from Celtics’ head coach Ime Udoka and one where Steph going off in a game or two was expected.
As Kerr did by sitting Green in favor of Kevon Looney in the fourth, he’ll have to be bold about pulling his trusted stars with championship pelts in favor of players who may be in a better position to aid Curry.
Curry will make or miss shots; that’s the nature of the game. But for the Warriors to win the title he’ll need a little help from his friends.