4 things to watch out for in Game 4 of the NBA Finals

The Ultimate Preview: With Boston’s 2-1 win over the Golden State Warriors, what can we expect in Game 4 of the NBA Finals?

Full Coverage: 2022 NBA Finals

Boston — The NBA Finals will be revealed on Friday, when the Celtics take a step closer to the 18th banner, or the Warriors tie the game and retake home, and perhaps reclaim the series advantage.

When it comes to questions, here are four to look for in Game 4 (9 ET, ABC) at Dominion Gardens:

1. The Celtics will test Stephen Curry’s squeaky foot early and often

Because, of course. June is a month without compassion in the NBA. The championship is just around the corner, and the team will do everything possible to win it. Boston will take Curry off the screen and give him a workout that will reveal once and for all just how tender Curry’s left foot is 48 hours after his unfortunate collision with the lumbering Al Horford.

If you believe Curry, the only thing hurting him right now is his feelings. He doesn’t need an MRI. He looked normal Thursday and played down any significance of the Game 3 accident, even though the Warriors didn’t practice.

“I’m going to play. That’s all I know now,” he said.

He didn’t exactly say, “I’ll play with no problem or discomfort,” so take that for what it’s worth.

“It’s just a matter of pain tolerance that you have to deal with,” he said. “At this point in the series, if you’re good enough, you play.”

Stephen Curry spoke to the media about his foot injury in Game 3.

It’s the same foot that injured Marcus Smart when he landed in March – what coach Steve Kerr called a “dangerous game” – forcing Curry to miss a moon. Curry says it’s not bad. But whenever Curry develops a foot problem, his sensitivity soars, given his history with a sprained ankle.

Curry’s importance to the Warriors is clear; he brought three rings and has a Finals MVP voting spot, which will be his first, averaging 31 points and showing solid performance. The game is getting more intense, so not only must his jumper continue to work, but so must his body. Especially since he’s playing 35 minutes a night and now has more urgency to be down 2-1.

2. Is Jaylen Brown the Warriors’ biggest problem?

The Celtics’ two victories had one thing in common: They also had Brown’s best game in this series.

He had 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists and stirred up a fourth-quarter storm for the Celtics in Game 1. Then set the tone early Wednesday and put up 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists in his signature game so far. That doesn’t even explain the work he does on the defensive end, switching between Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole and others.

What’s also remarkable about Brown is that he’s unafraid of bright lights. He was drawn to the ball in tense moments, took on the toughest defensive assignments, turned when necessary, and didn’t back down to Draymond Green.

“The playoffs are my favorite time of the year,” he said. “That’s what I love about basketball. It’s real basketball.”

On the biggest stage, Brown is explaining exactly who he is: a full-fledged two-way player, no matter how old, who can seize the moment. He missed the game last year with a wrist injury when the Celtics lost in the first round. immediately? He’s clearly a growing problem for the Warriors, and they have to treat him with the same respect as Tatum. Mainly because Brown has almost as much ball in his hands as he does and has improved as a playmaker.

“I thank Ime (Udoka) for believing in me and believing in me,” he said. “Everything else starts here. Experience is the best teacher. The way I learn things is to put me in them. So being able to get those reps throughout the season helps in the playoffs now.”

Jaylen Brown finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists to help the Celtics lead 2-1 in the NBA Finals.

3. Grant Williams is returning to the mix

For the first two games of the NBA Finals, the “other” Williams appeared to be invisible, only surfacing when he exchanged trash talk with Draymond Green. Otherwise, Grant – Williams has been unable to play, averaging only 18 minutes per game, and nothing special, a total of 6 points and 4 rebounds.

That’s a stark contrast to the Eastern Conference semifinals, when he scored 20 points in two games against the Bucks, shot sharp 3-pointers, and was also named a front-line defense against Giannis Antetokounmpo.

But the smaller and faster Warriors made Williams a little out of date, at least until Wednesday when Williams finally had a positive stretch. His efficiency and energy in 20 minutes produced 10 points and 5 rebounds and helped Boston gain a size advantage; even though Williams was only 6-foot-6, he played bigger and helped the Celtics Controlled inside.

“We all have to play the next game with the same intensity, myself included,” Williams said. “I take pride in being prepared mentally and physically, no matter what. I’m being asked by others. I will do what I do.”

The Warriors made better use of their faster and smaller selves in the first few playoff rounds than they did in the Finals, which raises an odd question, and now they’re down 2-1…

Hear from Grant Williams during Celtics’ Game 3 win!

4. How will the Warriors “get big”?

If James Wiseman, the young 7-foot center and projected starter, stays healthy, will this series have a different flavor from the Warriors’ perspective? Assuming the Warriors have a chance to use him and a more suitable power forward backup, Kevin Looney, against the Celtics?

It would be a moot assumption if the Warriors win the series, but an interesting assumption if they lose and keep getting beaten in the paint and around the rim. The Warriors were able to capitalize on the size issue against the Mavericks in the Western Conference finals because Dallas is weak on functional bigs. Not so in this series because the Celtics are thriving — and they want Robert Williams III to stay upright, too.

There’s really no secret here: Draymond Green has to shake off his lethargy, and Looney has to rediscover the spirit and impact he had against the Mavericks, when he was a factor on both ends of the floor. The two have been inconsistent in the Finals, especially in Game 3, when the Celtics opened up with them when they grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and led to a foul on Draymond. fought fiercely.

Will Rooney in the Western Conference finals finally appear in this round? Or is this series an anomaly for a player who has been consistent but unobtrusive throughout his NBA career?

What’s more important is how Draymond bounces back, not the reaction from the crowd — which will be harsh again — but his own carelessness to fouls and his persistent hypersensitivity to open shots. He’s yet to score in double figures, and while it’s not very demanding, he’ll pass up opportunities that often lead to teammates’ turnovers or harder shots.

“I have to be more aggressive on both ends of the floor,” he admitted. “I think I can. I will.”

Draymond Green said he had to be confident on offense for the Warriors to win Game 4.

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Sean Powell has covered the NBA for over 25 years.you can email him Find his profile here then follow him Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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