Steph Curry produced a 43-point masterpiece Friday to will the Golden State Warriors to a 107-97 Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics and level the series at 2-2.
At 34, Curry may be in the twilight of his career, but he looked like a man still playing at the absolute peak of his powers.
Curry, who had been a doubt for this game with an injury sustained in Game 3, made 14 of his 26 field goal attempts and seven of 14 attempts from three. But it wasn’t just his remarkable efficiency in front of a raucous Boston crowd that made this performance special.
The man many believe to be the greatest shooter of all time was making long-range threes off contact, tough layups and showcasing the absurdly silky handles that have made him one of the hardest players to defend in the NBA.
Teammate Klay Thompson said he believed Friday’s masterclass ranks “probably No. 1” out of Curry’s greatest Finals performances.
“I mean, this was nearly a must-win game,” Thompson told reporters. “And to go out there and shoot as efficiently as he did, and grab 10 rebounds and they were attacking him on defense — I mean, his conditioning is second to none in this league.
“Steph played incredible … Come Game 5, we’re going to have to help him out. Asking him to score 43 nightly is ridiculous.
“It’s just special to watch what he does,” Thompson added. “He does it so often that you kind of take it for granted, but I’m mesmerized just like the rest of the crowd was. It looks effortless.”
But Curry, who had 10 rebounds and five assists, wasn’t drawn into ranking his individual Finals displays.
“I don’t rate my performances. I just want to win the game,” Curry told reporters.
However, as has been the case for much of this Finals series, Curry was once again let down by star teammates Thompson and Draymond Green.
Green in particular has come in for heavy criticism from fans and pundits, with some suggesting he seems more concerned with trying to rile up opponents than he does with his performances on the court.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, while Jaylen Brown posted 21 points, six rebound and two assists.
It was just a three-point game going into the final 90 seconds after Al Horford hit a huge three, but the Celtics’ offense went stale in the closing stages and they failed to register another point.
The teams now head back to San Francisco for Game 5 on Monday night, as the Warriors look to make the most of regaining home court advantage.