In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, between the Bulls and Jazz, Michael Jordan, battling the flu, had a game for the ages.
Jordan scored 38 points and the Bulls defeated the Jazz 90-88 to take a 3-2 series lead; Jordan would go on to win the fifth of his six NBA titles.
The game would later be known as “The Flu Game”
Fast forward 25 years to Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Warriors and Celtics at TD Garden Friday night. The Celtics had an opportunity to take complete control of the series, but Steph Curry, battling a foot injury he suffered in Game 3, had a game for the ages. Curry had 24 of his 43 points in the second half, including seven threes, 10 rebounds, and four assists as the Warriors defeated the Celtics 107-97 in “The Foot Game.”(our name for it)
The series is tied 2-2, and Game 5 is Monday night at Chase Center.
Boston led 94-92 with under five minutes left in the fourth, but the Warriors went on a 15-3 run to close it out, and Curry would score 10 of those 15 points
According to StatMuse, Curry joins Jerry West and Magic Johnson as the only point guards to record a 40-point/10 rebounds Finals game.
In addition, according to ESPN Stats & Info, at age 34, he is the second-oldest player in NBA Finals history to record a 40-10 game behind only LeBron James(35), who did it in 2020.
Furthermore, the 24-second half points were the most for Curry in an NBA Finals game.
“Yeah, I think he was really laboring out there,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said playfully after the win. “He really struggled. No, never even looked like it was a factor, so…
“Just stunning. The physicality out there is, you know, pretty dramatic. I mean, Boston’s got obviously, best defense in the league. Huge and powerful at every position, and for Steph to take that — that kind of pressure all game long and still be able to defend at the other end when they are coming at him shows you, I think this is the strongest physically he’s ever been in his career, and it’s allowing him to do what he’s doing.”
Klay Thompson, who scored 18 points, was impressed by Curry’s heart.
“I think I have seen him show that much emotion, and the heart on that man is incredible,” Thompson said. “You know, the things he does we kind of take for granted from time to time but to go out there and put us on his back, I mean, we got to help him out on Monday. Wow, just showed why he is — shocking he wasn’t a First Team All-NBA guy, but whatever, next year.”
According to Thompson, this was Curry’s best performance in an NBA Finals Game.
“I think probably No. 1. I mean, this was nearly a must-win game, and to go out there and shoot as efficiently as he did, and grab 10 rebounds, and they were attacking him on defense,” he said. “I mean, his conditioning is second-to-none in this league. Steph played incredible.”
Draymond Green, who struggled again in Game 4 as he had two points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, says Curry showed why he’s an all-time great.
“Incredible,” Green said. “Put us on his back. Willed us to win. Much-needed win. Game we had to have. Came out and showed why he’s one of the best players to ever play this game, you know, and why, you know, this organization has been able to ride him to so much success. It’s absolutely incredible.”
Curry gave credit to the medical staff.
Great rehab, medical staff hooking me up the last two days, getting me right, he said. I think, for the most part, I didn’t think about it. Like I don’t know how to explain the pain. It’s more so just when you’re out there, you don’t compensate, or you don’t — it doesn’t take up too much mental space in terms of feeling like I can do whatever I want to out on the court. So hopefully, that continues with these next two days off, and get ready for Game 5.”
More importantly, the Warriors got home-court advantage back.
“It means everything knowing the sense of urgency we had to have tonight to win on the road and keep some life in the series, get home-court advantage back and try to create some momentum our way,” Curry said.
These teams have alternated wins in this series. Plus, Boston has not lost two games in a row in these playoffs, so expect them to come out with a big effort Monday night.
The Boston Celtics fed off their crowd and came out with a lot of energy in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
Jaylen Brown had 22 of his 27 points in the first half, nine rebounds, and five assists; Jayson Tatum added 26 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, and Marcus Smart chipped in with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists as Boston defeated the Warriors 116-100 at TD Garden to take a 2-1 series lead.
Game 4 is Friday night in Boston.
The Celtics had their largest lead of 18 points in the first half and led 68-56 at halftime. However, in the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 25-10 run to take their first lead since the first quarter as Steph Curry(15) and Klay Thompson(10) combined for 25 points in the quarter, but things fell apart for the Warriors in the fourth.
The Warriors were outscored 23-11 in the fourth as they shot 33% from the floor and 1/9 from downtown. The Celtics went on a 17-7 run to take a 14-point lead, taking complete control from there.
Curry, who had a game-high 31 points, including six threes, said the first quarter, where the Warriors trailed 33-22 after one, and the first few minutes of the fourth sunk the Warriors.
“That first two or three minutes kind of set the tone for the rest of the fourth and gave them a little bit of a cushion,” Curry said. “We had a hard time responding after that. So between the first three minutes of the fourth and the first 12 minutes of the game, that was pretty much it.”
Things went from bad to worse for the Warriors as Curry’s leg was rolled up on late in the fourth. Curry would remain in the game until he was removed along with the rest of the starters.
According to Curry, who missed 12 games in the regular season after injuring his foot against the Celtics in March, he should be fine.
“I’ll be all right,” he said. “I got caught — obviously in some pain, but I’ll be all right. See how it feels tomorrow and get ready for Friday…
“Same thing I did in Denver — or against Boston in the regular season, but I’ll be — not as bad.”
If the Warriors don’t have Curry, they won’t win this series. It’s that simple. Hopefully, for the Warriors, the NBA, and the fans, Curry will be ready to go in Game 4.
Draymond Green, who was public enemy number one in Boston, was not very good Wednesday night as he had two points, four rebounds, and three assists in 35 minutes of action. Green would foul out in the fourth.
According to StatMuse, Green has as many fouls as points, more techs than threes, and more turnovers than baskets.
When asked how he played in Game 3, Green said: “Like sh**.”
After one half of basketball, the Golden State Warriors led the Boston Celtics 52-50 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night.
Jayson Tatum scored 21 of his team-high 28 points and kept the Celtics in the game. However, in the third quarter, the Warriors went off.
Golden State outscored the Celtics 35-14 in the third quarter. Steph Curry scored 14 of his game-high 29 points in the third as the Warriors routed the Celtics 107-88 at Chase Center to even the series up 1-1.
Game 3 is Wednesday night in Boston.
The Celtics went cold in the third as they shot 24% from the field, including 25% from downtown, and they had no answers for Curry and the rest of the Warriors in the third.
Golden State had five players in double figures, but Curry was the focal point of the offense, which Draymond Green discussed after the win.
“I think our offense is always a lot of Steph,” Green said. “It all starts with Steph, whether — you know, when KD was here, our offense still started with Steph. That’s the way it’s going to be. I think when you’re playing against a team like that, you have to get offense from other places and not just Steph. I think, for the most part, we did a pretty good job of that. You know, Klay, what, 4-for-19, had a tough one, but that happens. We know he’ll make shots as this series continues to go on.”
In Game 1 for Boston, it was about the others, including Derrick White, Al Horford, and Marcus Smart, who combined for 68 points. In Game 2, it was a different story as the trio totaled 16 points.
Curry discussed what they did to shut down White, Horford, and Smart.
“We look back at Game 1, and there were — between Marcus, Al Horford, and Derrick White, there for four or five shots they got in the first half that were just uncontested,” Curry. “So for us to come out in the first quarter with the level of intensity and focus, obviously Jaylen(Brown) and Jayson(Tatum), what they do in the ball in their hand, it’s a tough cover. It’s more obvious what you need to do on those guys. But then certain possessions, we took — kept a body on Al. Tried to force Marcus into a crowd. I think that carried over to the rest of the game. So we have to continue to try to do that because they are liable to get hot at any moment.”
Game 2 got a little physical as Green got into it separate incidents with Grant Williams(first quarter)and Jaylen Brown, which led to a technical foul; however, some believe he should have gotten called for a second tech for his altercation with Brown, where Green had his legs on Brown, which led to some pushing and shoving between the two, but Green avoided the tech and the ejection.
According to Green, he has to be himself.
For me to sit back and say, oh, I’m going to push it to this edge and try to pull back, that don’t work,” he said. “I got to be me. So with the first tech, it is what it is. That’s not going to stop me from being aggressive or doing what I do on the basketball court. Just got to live with the results.”
Brown expects Green to be physical, and he feels Boston has to raise their intensity level in this series.
“He’s going to try to muck the game up, try to raise the level of intensity,” Brown said about Green, “We’ve got to raise ours. I feel like they got away with a lot tonight, but we’ve got to come ready to play, come ready to meet that physicality on both ends.”
It appears we’re going to have a long series. Basketball is a game of runs. In Game 1, Boston exploded in the fourth, and in Game 2, Golden State exploded in the third.
Let’s see what Game 3 has in store for us in Boston.
For three quarters, the Boston Celtics struggled to find their way in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Warriors. The Celtics trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half and trailed 92-80, heading into the fourth.
However, the Celtics exploded in the fourth. Al Horford scored 11 of his 26 points in the quarter; Jaylen Brown poured in 10 of his 24 points, and Derrick White added 13 of 21 points in the second half as Boston outscored Golden State 40-16 in the final stanza to defeat the Warriors 120-108 at Chase Center.
Game 2 is Sunday night in San Francisco.
In the fourth, Boston tightened the screws on defense and got hot at the right time as they shot 68% from the floor, including 9/12(75%) from deep.
Marcus Smart, who had 18 points, said the team stuck to their game plan and started to make shots.
“It hasn’t been our first time being down in that position, nor in this game, let alone all season,” Smart said after the win. “We came in with a game plan. For us, it was just to stick with it, believe in ourselves. Kept doing that. As you see, everybody starts to catch fire, get hot, things start to go our way.
Boston has been involved in two Game 7s, including winning on the road against the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals, and according to Brown, this team is battle-tested.
“We’re battle-tested,” Brown said. “We’ve been through a lot. We’ve been through a lot of experiences, a lot of losses. We know what it takes to win. I give credit to every guy in that locker room from top to bottom. We got a great, resilient group.”
It took Horford 15 years and 141 playoff games to get to the NBA Finals, and in Game 1, with the game tied at 103 late in the fourth, Horford scored eight straight points.
“I felt like the guys kept finding me time after time,” Horford said. “Also, Derrick White hit some tough shots there, too. Yeah, it was just get the looks, knock ’em down, that’s that.”
Steph Curry scored 21 of his game-high 34 points in the first quarter. Curry made six threes(the most ever in a Finals quarter) in the first quarter. Despite the loss, Draymond Green is not concerned.
“We’ll figure out the ways we can stop them from getting those threes and take them away,” Green said. “But no, I don’t think it was a rhythm thing. We pretty much dominated the game for the first 41, 42 minutes. So we’ll be fine.”
Boston stole this game and should be happy that they found a way to get this victory, especially when you consider their best player, Jayson Tatum, had only 12 points on 3/17 from the field, but he did impact the game in other ways, as he had a game and career-high 13 assists and five rebounds.
Great win for the Celtics, and man, they look the part, but there is still a lot of series left.
After three years away, the Golden State Warriors are back in the NBA Finals after defeating the Mavericks 120-110 in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
Golden State won the series 4-1.
The NBA Finals begin next Thursday at Chase Center.
The Warriors last made the Finals in 2019 when they lost to the Toronto Raptors, and that was with Kevin Durant leading the way.
Durant is off in Brooklyn, who got swept in their opening round series by the Celtics, while Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green are on their way to the Finals for the sixth time in eight seasons.
After Durant left, things went south for the Warriors as they missed the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s been rough for the Warriors, but now they are back.
“The fact me, Klay, Draymond, from 2015 to now, six out of eight years having a chance to compete for a championship,” Curry, who had 15 points and nine assists and won the Magic Johnson Western Conference finals MVP, said after the win. “The feeling leaving 2019 Finals and realizing, like, we had been on an amazing journey, then got hit with a lot of adversity, some speed bumps, but never lost the faith we could get back here.”
Green, who had 17 points, six rebounds, and nine assists, added: “After being counted out, dynasty is over, all of those things. To get back here it’s fantastic. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication and to an incredible organization. We continue to stick with it, show what we’re capable of. This one feels great. But got four more wins to get.”
Thompson missed the past two years after tearing his ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals and tearing his Achilles in 2020, and he was big-time in Game 5 as he had a game-high 32 points, including eight threes. After the game, Thompson was emotional, and he explained why.
“Just such a surreal feeling,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to put into words, really. This time last year, I was just starting to jog again and get up and down the court. Now to be feeling like myself, feeling explosive, feeling sure in my movements, I’m just grateful. All those emotions kind of rushed through me, and I thought about our training staff, I thought about Rick Celebrini, I thought about Steve, I thought about those days me and Rick were together in Santa Cruz, and I was in a terrible mood.
“We were together in the summertime. All those long days. They would tell me it would pay off. It was hard to see that at the time. Now to actually be here, I can feel it paying off.”
Golden State is back, and they are playing at a high level. Plus, they will have homecourt advantage in the Finals. In addition, the Warriors could get back Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II.
However, they have to still win four more games. Based on the way they’re playing right now, the Warriors will be the favorites and will be tough to beat.
The Dallas Mavericks kept their season alive after defeating the Golden State Warriors at home 119-109 in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
Golden State still leads the series 3-1, and Game 5 is Thursday at Chase Center.
Dallas had their largest lead of 29 points in the third. However, the Warriors would cut the lead to eight in the fourth, but the Mavs were able to hold them off.
It was a team effort as the Mavs, who had six players in double figures and had 30 assists, were led by Luka Doncic’s 30 points, 14 rebounds, nine assists, two blocks, and two steals, and Dorian Finney-Smith added 23 points.
They still have to win three more games to win this series, but Doncic still has hope.
“I still believe we can win, you know. Swept or not swept,” Doncic said. “In the end, if you lose, you lose. Don’t matter how many we win. We have to go game by game. We going to believe until the end…
“We got more to do, you know. This is nothing. We got three more. We have to go game by game and believe.”
Finney-Smith felt the Mavs played like a desperate team in Game 4.
“Everybody in that locker room feel like we have more basketball to play,” he said. “We just wanted to get the win by any means necessary, and I feel like we came out desperate that first half.”
It’s a make-or-miss league, and the Mavs made shots Tuesday night as they hit 20 threes for the fourth time this postseason and shot 50% from the floor.
“Yeah, we’ve felt all along we’re getting great looks,” Mavs coach Jason Kidd said. “Sometimes they go in; sometimes they don’t in this series so far. It’s a matter about making shots.”
No team has ever come back after being down 3-0, but the message from Kidd is to take it one game at a time.
“We believe it’s just one game at a time,” Kidd said. “We did our part tonight. We found a way to win. The next part is to find a way to win on the road. Again, we can’t get ahead of ourselves. It’s still 3-1. We know going into Golden State it’s a tough place to win, but we’ve won there before.”
The odds are still against the Mavs, but anything can happen.
-The Warriors, who had seven players in the double figures, were led by Stephen Curry’s 20 points, marking his 100th 20-point game in the postseason. He became the 16th player to record 100-or-more 20-point games in the playoffs.
Reggie Bullock had 18 points on 6-10 shooting from deep. Bullock tied his career-best of 6 3-pointers, when he had a playoff career-best 21 points (Game 2 at GSW).
Jalen Brunson recorded 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists tonight. This was Brunson’s fourth game with 15-5-5 in the postseason, with all of the instances coming this year.
Maxi Kleber went 5-6 off the bench for 13 points, while Spencer Dinwiddie added 10 points and a playoff career-best-tying 8 assists off the bench.
-The game was delayed 16 minutes before the third quarter as water came through the roof at American Airlines Center.
The Golden State Warriors are one game away from the NBA Finals after defeating the Dallas Mavericks 109-100 in Game 3 Sunday night at American Airlines Center.
The Warriors lead the series 3-0, and Game 4 is Tuesday night in Dallas.
No team in NBA history has won a series down 3-0.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 31 points (5-10 3FG), five rebounds, and 11 assists, and Andrew Wiggins had a career playoff-high 27 points and a career playoff-high-tying 11 rebounds.
Luka Doncic led the Mavericks with a game-high 40 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.
Doncic did his job Sunday night, but things fell apart in the third as the Warriors outscored the Mavs by nine in the quarter and had their largest lead of 14.
According to Doncic, the Warriors have excellent continuity, which has made things difficult for the Mavs.
“I think the Warriors are playing incredible,” Doncic said. “Everybody knows their role. Everybody just stays together. They’re a long-built team. They’ve been together for a long time, and I think they’re playing good basketball, so that’s what I think is going to be really difficult, and these past three games, it’s been very difficult.”
The Warriors killed the Mavs on the glass. Golden State outrebounded Dallas 47-34 and had 18 second-chance points. Kevon Looney had a game-high 12 rebounds. Doncic gave Looney a lot of credit, but he feels the Mavs have to do a better job on the boards going forward.
“I think, like I say, the rebounding. We’ve got to be way better. We’ve got to be more physical. It’s really tough with Looney; he’s an unbelievable player. He’s very underrated. Nobody talks about him. But I think he’s been doing an amazing job, and it’s tough with him. He’s a strong dude, and he helps them a lot. He’s a great role player, and we’ve got to do a better job boxing him out.”
Mavs coach Jason Kidd added: “Yeah, we just have to be physical and make contact to keep them from crashing. A lot of times, they hit us too late, and so when you’re playing small, we have to just — we’ve got to hit; first, we can’t hit second.”
This series is probably over. However, the sentiment from the Mavs is they have to take it one game at a time.
“One game at a time,” Spencer Dinwiddie, who has 26 points off the bench, said. “I mean, that’s really it.”
Jalen Brunson, who had 20 points, added: “One game at a time, plain and simple. That’s all we have, one game at a time.”
No matter what happens the rest of the way, the 2021-22 NBA season is a success for the Dallas Mavericks, but it would be nice to get one game in this series, and we’ll see if they can get that one in Game 4.
The Golden State Warriors brought the defensive energy in Game 1 of their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.
Behind the defense of Andrew Wiggins, Golden State held Luka Doncic to 20 points on 6/18 shooting from the floor, including 3/10 from deep. The Mavericks shot only 36% from the field, including 22% from downtown, and they fell to the Warriors 112-87 at Chase Center Wednesday night.
Game 2 is Friday night at Chase Center.