the boston celtics are two wins away from claiming the NBA championship.
With a 2-1 series lead entering Friday’s game, Boston is halfway to the 18th title in franchise history.
The Warriors find themselves in a hole, but not unlike the hole they faced during the first year of their eight-year playoff dynasty window. In 2015, they trailed the Cleveland Cavaliers 2-1 before Game 4 in Cleveland.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr swapped Andrew Bogut out of the Game 4 starting lineup for Andre Iguodala, who hadn’t started a game for the Warriors that season. The lineup change proved pivotal. The Warriors went on to win the series 4-2 and Iguodala was named the Finals MVP.
Fast forward to 2022, the Warriors may need to pull another move out of their back pocket to match the Celtics’ overpowering size and physicality.
USA TODAY Sports will have live updates and analysis all evening as Game 2 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals gets underway.
The Warriors didn’t have their typical third-quarter surge, but they did enough to take the lead heading into the fourth quarter. Golden State is up 79-78, outscoring Boston 30-24 in the third quarter.
Steph Curry is single-handedly keeping the Warriors in Game 4. He has racked up 33 points on 12-for-22 from the field and 6-for-13 from three. He came into Game 4 averaging 31.3 in the series, but he already has that through three quarters tonight. This marks his third 30-point plus game of the series, but Curry is going to need some offensive help if the Warriors are going to win this pivotal game on the road. Andrew Wiggins has 13 points and Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole each have 10.
The Celtics have been scoring by committee. Jayson Tatum has 20 points, Jaylen Brown has 15, Marcus Smart has 14 and Derrick White has 13 points.
Bradley Beal is in the building.
The Washington Wizards star was a part of the star-studded crowd in TD Garden on Friday to cheer on longtime friend Jayson Tatum. Beal and Tatum grew up in the same neighborhood in St. Louis and attended the same high school at different times.
During a recent Bleacher Report interview with Taylor RooksTatum shared a video message to Beal, who he said is the “big brother I never had.”
“Without you, it wouldn’t be me,” Tatum said in the video as Beal got emotional. “You don’t get enough credit, but I’m always giving you the credit… my big brother, man, I appreciate you. You know it’s all love.”
Other celebrities in attendance include Olympic Gold Medal Gymnast Aly Raisman, plus Celtics legends Antoine Walker, Leon Powe, Dana Barros, Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Kendrick Perkins and Jason Terry.
The Celtics are up 54-49 over the Warriors heading into halftime. Steph Curry’s ankle doesn’t appear to be slowing him down as he leads his team with 19 points. Jordan Poole started to get his Poole party going in the second quarter, scoring 10 points off the bench, but they are still waiting for Klay Thompson (five points; 19 minutes) and Draymond Green (zero points; 17 minutes) to join the party .
Jayson Tatum finished the half with 16 points, while Jaylen Brown had 12 and Derrick White added 10 off the bench. The Celtics are shooting 46.2% from the field (18-for-39) and a whopping 57.1% from 3-point range (8-for-14), but Boston’s 10 turnovers have kept the score closer than it should be.
The Warriors aren’t playing flawless basketball either and have eight of their own turnovers. They also haven’t been able to get to the line like the Celtics, who are 10-for-15 from the free throw line. The Warriors are 4-for-5 from the line.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr earned a technical foul for yelling at the referees after they appeared to miss a travel call on Boston’s Payton Pritchard. As a result of the no-call, Pritchard drew a shooting foul on Jordan Poole.
Tatum missed the technical foul free throw, and Pritchard made one of two of his free throws to cut the Warriors’ lead to 37-35.
Kerr has been complaining about calls all game.
Draymond Green hasn’t shied away from making himself a magnet for controversy during these NBA Finals vs. the Boston Celtics.
From a pick reminiscent of a football game and a near-ejection in Game 2, to a terrible two-point, four-rebound effort in Game 3 and subsequent funny reaction on his podcast, the Golden State Warriors star has been in the news throughout these NBA Finals.
During Friday night’s Game 4 in Boston, Green reook center stage after an early second foul. When he walked over to the bench, Celtics fans at TD Garden mocked Green in the funniest way – with a sarcastic, arena-wide standing ovation for Boston Sports Enemy No. 1.
— Robert Zeglinski, For The Win
Jayson Tatum has fallen into a frustrating habit of starting games slow. That wasn’t the case in Game 4 on Friday. He dropped 12 points in the first quarter and the Celtics lead the Warriors 28-27 after 12 minutes of play.
The Warriors tried to go small with Otto Porter Jr. in the starting lineup for Kevon Looney, but small ball didn’t work and they were outscored 12-6. Kerr quickly subbed Looney in for Porter Jr. Looney’s size was instantly felt, picking up 5 rebounds, including 2 offensive boards, which translated to a surge for the Warriors.
Although Golden State came out the gate ice cold, missing their first five three point attempts, they finished the quarter shooting 45.5% from the field (10-for-23) and 35.7% from three (5-for-14).
Green, however, was not able to get it going. He picked up 2 rebounds, 2 assists and one steal before picking up his second foul and being pulled from the game with 4:18 left in the first. Green has had foul trouble in the 2022 NBA Finals, fouling out in Game 1 and Game 3. He has 15 fouls and 15 points in the entire series.
Steve Kerr is shaking up the lineup for Game 4: He started Otto Porter Jr. in place of Kevon Looney. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green round out the Warriors’ starting lineup. Porter Jr. started 15 games in the regular season and hasn’t been in the starting lineup in the 2022 NBA Finals, until now.
The change was shortlived. Kerr quickly subbed Looney in for Porter Jr. with 7:23 left in the first quarter.
The TD Garden crowd is known for being rowdy. remember when Kyrie Irving and Boston fans engaged in a well-publicized back and forth earlier in the 2022 playoffs?
Well, Draymond Green received a similar treatment in TD Garden during Game 3, so much so that his wife called on the league to take action. Following Wednesday’s 116-100 loss, Green’s wife Hazel took to Instagram to object to the Celtic fans’ obscene chants directed at her husband de ella in front of their children de ella.
“Tough loss tonight BUT in NO WAY, shape or form should fans be allowed to chant obscenities at players!” she wrote on her Instagram Story of her. “The @nba has the audacity to have a whole code of conduct card at every seat about fans and their behavior and how they could be ejected from a game or banned but a whole crowd/section/numerous people get to chant (expletive) YOU DRAYMOND or call him a (expletive) or (expletive)? And nothing??”
Klay Thompson said, “Dropping F-bombs with children in the crowd. Really classy. Good job Boston.” Steve Kerr sarcastically added that Boston fans are “very classy.”
Green, however, appeared to be unbothered with the chants, saying Boston fans “did what I expected.”
“I embrace it,” Green said after Game 3. “That’s something that I enjoy. Waste a lot of energy talking to me, so it’s great. It’s great. Looking forward to Friday.”
You may remember Green enthusiastically dancing to “Whoop that Trick” with Grizzles fans during Golden State’s blowout Game 5 loss to Memphis on May 12. He had the last laugh and responded by dropping 14 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists in the Warriors Game 6 win to close out the series.
The Warriors will have Steph Curry on the floor. Coach Steve Kerr confirmed that Curry will play in Game 4 after injuring his left ankle late in Game 3 on Wednesday, the same ankle that kept Curry out of the back end of the regular season with a sprained ligament.
“He told me he felt good,” Kerr said ahead of Game 4 on Friday. “I don’t know exactly what he’s done treatment-wise, but the training staff says he’s good to go.”
Curry was down on the court in pain with 4:07 left in the fourth quarter of Game 3 after he and other players tried to corral a loose basketball. As Curry dove to the floor, Boston’s Al Horford appeared to fall on Curry’s left leg. Draymond Green said he heard Curry “screaming at the bottom of the pile.”
Curry hurt the same ankle on a similar play in a late-season game against Boston on March 16 after Marcus Smart made a diving lunge and landed on his lower leg.
“I know exactly what it is,” Curry said Thursday. “I guess (there’s) comfort knowing I’ve been through it before, but also you would rather not have to deal with something like that at this point in the season.”
Despite the injury, Curry vowed that he’s “going to play.” He’s a man of his word from him.
‘I’M GOING TO PLAY’: Steph Curry’s diagnosis for Game 4 of NBA Finals
Warriors guard Jordan Poole has arguably been the Warriors’ biggest X-factor the entire season, and we’re seeing why in the Finals.
Aside from a short stretch late in Game 2 after the result was largely decided, Poole has not made a significant impact on the Finals. He’s scoring 12 points per game in the series after averaging 18.4 in the first three rounds.
Golden State desperately needs his production as a third (and sometimes second) scoring option, especially if Steph Curry is going to be hampered at all by the apparent leg injury he sustained in Game 3.
When asked what needs to change for Game 4, Poole told reporters on Thursday, “Just being able to take what the defense gives us. Some bigs are deeper than others, some are a little bit higher. Being able just to be aggressive and get to the [rim] as well is something that can help.”
Warriors assistant and former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson has agreed to take the Charlotte Hornets job, becoming the second Warriors assistant coach to earn a head coaching job. Warriors assistant Mike Brown was hired by the Sacramento Kings last month.
Atkinson, 55, will replace James Borrego, who was fired in April after going 138-163 in his four seasons with the team.
Atkinson brings prior head coaching experience. He was the Nets’ coach for nearly four seasons, compiling a record of 118-190. He was credited with leading Brooklyn from 20 wins in his first season to 42-40 record in 2018-19 — the Nets’ first playoff berth since 2015.
He was fired in Brooklyn in March 2020 just prior to the season getting suspended due to the pandemic. He spent the next season on the Los Angeles Clippers’ staff before joining Steve Kerr and Golden State this season.
Both Atkinson and Brown will remain with the Warriors through the end of the NBA Finals.