Well, the Golden State Warriors did it. When they needed it most, they stepped up to the plate and beat the Boston Celtics 107-97, tying the NBA Finals at two games apiece, and returning home court advantage to the Dubs.
Just like that, the Warriors are in a great position again. And it was largely thanks to an unreal performance from Steph Curry.
More on that in a moment. It’s time to grade the players, weighting for our expectations of each.
Note: League-average true-shooting percentage (TS) this season was 56.6%
33 minutes, 2 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls, 1-for-7 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 14.3% TS, 0 plus/minus
I’m not 100% sure what to make of Green’s performance in this one. I expected a big game from him after his Game 3 struggles, and it didn’t really happen. The offense again looked very rough, with or without Kevon Looney on the court with him, though the playmaking was much better.
He still doesn’t quite look like “defensive player of the year” Draymond Green, but it was certainly a big step in that direction.
He was benched for much of the fourth quarter, and while he supported Steve Kerr, he also made it clear that it stung. We could see a very spirited performance in Game 5.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in assists.
Otto Porter Jr.
15 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 foul, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-2 threes, 2-for-2 free throws, 34.7% TS, -1
Porter got a start in Looney’s spot and, as has been a trend for much of the postseason, the person taking Looney’s place struggled.
In just was kind of a nothing game for Porter. Not good, not bad. The Warriors needed an impact, and he wasn’t making one, so they mostly moved on.
43 minutes, 17 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 2 fouls, 7-for-17 shooting, 2-for-6 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 47.5% TS, +20
I shudder when I think of where the Warriors might be without Wiggins in this series. His shooting continues to be fairly inefficient, but each game he finds a way to provide something that the team desperately needs.
This time? An absolutely ferocious rebounding performance. He killed Boston’s momentum with defensive rebounds in traffic. He kept the Warriors afloat with offensive rebounds and putbacks.
Andrew is EVERYWHERE right now— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 11, 2022
And when not doing those things, he D’d up Jayson Tatum about as well as you could possible hope for.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in rebounds.
41 minutes, 43 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 turnovers, 3 fouls, 14-for-26 shooting, 7-for-14 threes, 8-for-9 free throws, 71.8% TS, +11
I have no words for what Curry did. When the team had their backs fully against the wall, he stepped up with one of the greatest NBA Finals performances in recent memory. When no one else could make an open shot, Curry made impossible ones. When the team needed him most, he reminded the world that he’s nat just one of the greatest Warriors, and not just one of the best players alive, but one of the greatest players of all time.
So I’m just gonna roll the tape, crack a beer, and enjoy. I recommend you do the same.
43 PTS | 14-26 FG | 7-14 3FG— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 11, 2022
Stephen Curry put on a masterpiece of a performance last night pic.twitter.com/NTAHqhkSOp
Post-game bonus: Led the team in points.
41 minutes, 18 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 7-for-17 shooting, 4-for-10 threes, 52.9% TS, +2
This performance was somewhere between the Klay that struggled in Games 1 and 2 and the star playoff performer that we know is hiding in there somewhere.
He made some clutch shots, but the end result wasn’t very efficient.
K L 3⃣ Y— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) June 11, 2022
His defense was definitely improved in this one, as he did a good job against Jalen Brown.
9 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, 0-for-2 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 0.0% TS, -4
Bjelica got a decent chunk of minutes and, despite the not-so-pretty stat line, played pretty well. He continues to play good defense on Tatum which ... I don’t think many people had that on their bingo card! Super cool though.
Post-game bonus: Worst plus/minus on the team.
28 minutes, 6 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls, 3-for-4 shooting, 75.0% TS, +21
The Warriors aren’t asking Looney to outplay Al Horford or Robert Williams III. But when he does, they are very, very, very hard to beat.
Post-game bonus: Led the team in plus/minus.
Gary Payton II
10 minutes, 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 2-for-3 shooting, 0-for-1 threes, 1-for-2 free throws, 64.4% TS, -1
GPII is unlikely to get a huge amount of playing time in this series, but he’s been hyper effective in short bursts. His on-ball defense has really flustered Boston, and forced the Celtics offense into frustrated mistakes.
21 minutes, 14 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, 4 fouls, 6-for-13 shooting, 2-for-7 threes, 53.9% TS, +2
We still haven’t seen a breakout performance from Poole in the NBA Finals, after some elite games earlier in the playoffs. Poole certainly had his fair share of great moments in this game, but the overall impact wasn’t very strong.
Still, Boston is defending him like a weapon, and that’s helping the offense as a whole.
Friday’s DNPs: Andre Iguodala, Jonathan Kuminga, Damion Lee, Moses Moody, Juan Toscano-Anderson
Friday’s inactives: James Wiseman