The Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors played in Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals. Jayson Tatum had a rough shooting night but led the Celtics with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Stephen Curry was sensational with 43 points in what was essentially a must-win game for the Warriors.
The first quarter got off to an explosive start on both ends. When Robert Williams (7 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks) is on the court, now that he’s a bit closer to full health, the Warriors have absolutely no answer. He wreaks havoc on every aspect of the basketball game, and the move to put Otto Porter Jr. in the starting lineup only unlocked him further. It’s no surprise that in the moments he sat, the Warriors went on a run, fueled by both Andrew Wiggins (17 points, 16 rebounds, potentially the best game of his career) and Stephen Curry.
Also instrumental in that GS run was Steve Kerr having to yank Draymond Green (2 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) out of the game due to foul trouble. Green has been completely ineffective, and his approach of not even looking at the rim when he catches the ball puts him high up on the valuable player list for the Celtics. Boston’s essentially playing 4 on 5. Tatum’s shot making helped maximize the plays that Rob Williams was making on both ends.
The second quarter got off to a sloppy start after some really terrible passes from Tatum. Boston wasn’t able to take advantage of some misses from Klay Thompson (18 points), and Jordan Poole (14 points) got hot with a pair of 3-pointers. Curry went to another level tonight, but in the second quarter, the Celtics exploited the Green advantage while consistently attacking the rim. Some might say they got a favorable whistle, but the whistle follows aggression. That’s how the Celtics played.
The only thing that stopped Boston from jumping out to a double-digit lead before halftime was turnovers. Boston gave the ball up 10 times before the halftime buzzer. Entirely too much against a defense as good as Golden State’s. Boston entered the half with a 54-49 lead.
It took 30 seconds for the Warriors to tie the game in the infamous third quarter. Marcus Smart (18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals) took an ill-advised 3-pointer that went in and then ripped Draymond Green for a wide-open fastbreak dunk to regain control. It was looking scary for a moment, including more turnovers from Tatum, but Smart and Robert Williams helped to establish order.
Stephen Curry went absolutely ballistic to in the third quarter. Rinse, repeat. Boston actually held its own throughout the frame, and the team was able to weather the storm. After Curry went off, entering the fourth quarter down just one point felt like a miracle. This set up for a very tight fourth quarter.
Tatum had a tough time getting into a rhythm shooting-wise in the second half thanks to Golden State concentrating all of its defensive firepower on him. This, however, allowed players like Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to get opportunities that the compromised defense was giving them. A few crucial stops and transition plays by Brown gave the Celtics some positive momentum.
Golden State went on a quick 7-0 run after a Smart heave to beat the shot clock went down, leaving Boston to trail by three points with 3:41 left. Robert Williams came up a bit gingerly after a tough jump, which made it harder for Boston to defend dynamically. Tatum really struggled to make shots in the second quarter.
Boston’s inability to create quality looks on offense really doomed them even as their defense got a few crucial stops at times. It’s hard to count on clamping when Curry’s hot, but they did get a few opportunities. Smart missed a few looks (some of them quite ambitious), Tatum missed a few shots from midrange and from 3, and Jaylen had a costly turnover at a terrible time.
Jayson Tatum will need to figure out how to get going from the field and quickly. Boston can’t go the distance if he can’t make shots when they need him.
On the other end, Golden State made just enough plays to tie the series.
The Celtics will travel to San Fransisco for a crucial Game 5 at the Chase Center on Monday at 9 p.m. ET.
For more postgame coverage of the fourth game of the 2022 NBA Finals, tune into the the Garden Report Postgame Show LIVE on https://www.clnsmedia.com/ right after the game. Join A Sherrod Blakely, Bobby Manning, Josue Pavon, Jimmy Toscano and host John Zannis for a full breakdown. Plus, the guys will discuss Tatum’s shooting woes.