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Rapid Reaction - NBA Finals Game 4

It was a must win atmosphere in Boston last night and Steph Curry refused to let the Warriors lose, contributing 43 points in an exciting Game 4 that saw Golden State knock off the Boston Celtics 107-97. Let’s take a look at what went down for both teams and what lies ahead in Game 5.

Starting with the obvious, Steph Curry was spectacular last night. In addition to his 43 points, he also contributed 10 rebounds and maybe more importantly, he played 40 minutes which is the minimum he will need to play for the Warriors to continue to succeed. There is a long way to go in this series but if the Warriors do win, Steph has already solidified himself as the best player in the NBA Finals by a long shot.

I’d be reaching a little bit to start criticizing individual performances on the Celtics last night – sure each player had some aspects of their play they could have stood to improve, but I think we need to take a look at a major issue that Boston has as a collective unit. From the fantastic Sam Quinn at CBS Sports:

“From Jan. 15 on, the Celtics played just 49 clutch minutes, the second-fewest in the NBA. Only 11 of their final 38 games were close enough to be considered clutch…Boston has played 12 clutch games this postseason, more than any other team. They are scoring just 89.1 points per 100 possessions in those minutes, down from an already woeful 97.7 in the regular season. Just as distressing, an offense that assisted on over 60 percent of its regular-season field goals is now just an anemic 41.2 percent when it matters most.”

In simple terms – the Celtics are failing to step up when it matters the most. After taking a 94-90 point lead with 5 minutes left last night, they only scored 3 points the rest of the way. They have way too much talent to keep faltering down the stretch.

I’ve been very critical of Steve Kerr in this series as I think he’s made some very questionable moves, however I will give Kerr his credit on realizing that Draymond Green is simply not contributing much this series and keeping him on the bench during a critical portion of the 4th quarter. Green has more fouls than points in the NBA Finals and the Celtics have been able to leave him wide open when he has the ball on offense because he is not a threat. He’s only 32 years old and should not be hitting this type of decline at this stage of his career. But if he can’t find ways to contribute, he may be finding himself on the bench more often, especially if Andrew Wiggins (16 rebounds) and Kevon Looney (11 rebounds) are contributing on the glass.

Game 5 in the bay on Monday night! Enjoy your weekend!

(Photo – Michael Dwyer/Associated Press)

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