Just marvel at the man wearing the No. 30 Golden State Warriors jersey. Outside of it, he looks as if he could be anyone you walk past at the grocery store. It’s quite possible that someone actually needs to buy a used car online rather than getting paid handsomely as a salesman. But when Wardle Stephen Curry put on that jersey, he was the best shooter on the planet, unquestionably the 2022 Finals MVP and why the Warriors will win the championship again.
Now, the Boston Celtics should win. If basketball is meritocracy and better teams always pay off, the Celtics will lead Monday night with Game 5 and a 3-2 series. Then they would go home, and late in Game 6, somewhere in the TD Garden, a gloved operator held an oversized robin blue bag to protect the golden Larry O. Bryan trophy, ready to show it. For its rightful owners: the 2021-22 Boston Celtics.
Of the four games in this series, the Celtics are better in three games. They have better defense, a pinned body brand that encourages well-meaning shooters to be over-dribble players. With center Robert Williams III in control of the paint and four lanky defenders in front of him, Boston forced Golden State to roam the open space with little hope on the perimeter.
Stephen Curry shakes off injury, hopes Warriors win in Game 4 to reach NBA Finals
The Celtics have better overall depth, and they get consistent contributions from their best players. Even when first-team All-Star Jayson Tatum struggled with a low post shot, he wasn’t to be outdone, as he did in Game 4, sprinting all out, saving a loose ball and sliding in Sneakers for teammates on the sidelines. Point guard Marcus Smart also showed his willingness to nearly break his back Friday night, all-in to sell the flop, just to get a whistle.
Those winning games should be rewarded with promotions, elevating the young Celtics from a Suffolk start-up to a basketball empire and set them up for early access to the team’s 18th flag.better team should prevail in this series.
Curry broke the logic of a seven-game series in favor of more complete teams, where a single star can’t win everything on his own. While he may not be the LeBron James of 2007, dragging the likes of Daniel Gibson and Sasha Pavlovic into the Finals, Curry has made his team look like if he can play a few more games Solitaire, his team would win the championship.
“Standing out and showing why he’s one of the best players of all time,” teammate Draymond Green said after watching Curry play in Game 4, “and why this organization was able to lead him to such a degree. Big success. It’s absolutely unbelievable.”
Only two other point guards in league history had 40 points and 10 rebounds in the Finals. One features his silhouette as an NBA logo, and the other simply uses his nickname, Magician.
Curry joined the list with 43 points (14 of 26, including seven 3-pointers) and 10 rebounds in the Warriors’ Game 4 series win. In the early hours of Saturday morning, one voice joined the Hallelujah choir in another to praise him. The truth in their words seems to imply their reliance on one person — something the Warriors once defined by their “number advantage” never did during the Finals.
“We wouldn’t have won without him,” Jordan Poole said.
“All you can do is watch. Sometimes when Steph has the ball, you just watch what he does,” admitted Andrew Wiggins.
“To go out and put us on our backs, I mean, we have to help him on Monday,” Klay Thompson observed.
The Warriors seem to believe in their championship DNA — they bring it up without even being asked — but know deep down that this team is not the same team it was in 2015, 2017 or 2018 . Thompson, in his recovery from his injury, has yet to rediscover the touch that has ever made the most intimidating shooter in Golden State’s backcourt at 23-foot-9 and beyond. More troubling for the Warriors is that the last piece of their big three, Green has been unable to play offensively.
When famed Bay Area columnist Marcus Thompson II asked Warriors head coach Steve Kerr about his backup model (“How many gangsters do you have to call to get on him?”), the question was in the first Curry didn’t play a quarter at the start of the fourth quarter. But Kerr also needed a certain amount of gangster — or just vision — to get Green off the bench before the midpoint of the fourth quarter. Kerr kept Green there until 3:41, favoring 22-year-old guard Poole to trade offense for defense.
“It was a tough series for Boston because of his size and athleticism,” explained Kerr, who averaged 4.3 points per game and missed nine 3-point attempts. “But he still affects the game in a big way.”
Photo with NBA playoff star Patrick Beverley
Green had nine rebounds and eight assists, and Thompson made a pair of just-in-time 3-pointers in the final quarter. They did enough to propel the Warriors to victory and possibly secure momentum before Game 5 of the series in San Francisco. Curry did everything else.
“We’re so proud of everyone in terms of our physicality, our focus and our perseverance throughout the game,” Curry said as he praised the team, if clapping his back to break his hand was suitable.
“2 and 2 is much better than going home 3-1.”
And in this series, a Wardell Stephen Curry is greater than all.