The Golden State Warriors travel to TD Garden on Friday night for a match-up that could well prove pivotal in deciding the winner of this year’s NBA Finals, with their opponents the Boston Celtics aiming to extend their 2-1 series lead in front of a home crowd (Boston Celtics 4/7, Golden State Warriors 7/5 – Money Line).
The Celtics’ 116-110 win over their San Francisco counterparts on Wednesday allowed the 17-time champions to pull ahead once again in the best-of-seven series, after the Warriors fought back from an opening defeat on their quest to claim a seventh NBA crown.
But the midweek Boston victory may yet prove to be the defining moment of the series; talisman Stephen Curry once again proved his worth to the Warriors with 31 points, but had to be withdrawn in the last quarter after appearing to sustain an injury to his left leg in a scrummage for a loose ball.
The contest had been finely balanced entering the final 12 minutes, with Golden State cutting a Boston lead to just four points, spearheaded by Curry along with the 25-point haul of Klay Thompson, as well as Andrew Wiggins’s 18.
But the exit of the Warriors’ key figure proved terminal in the eyes of head coach Steve Kerr.
“We weren’t going to catch up,” he said of Curry’s replacement.
Highly anticipated updates on the fitness of the star man were largely positive, with the point guard (9/5 – Finals MVP) understood not to have needed an MRI scan.
“I’m going to play. That’s all I know right now,” said tbe 34-year-old at his team’s media availability following game three.
“Obviously there’ll be some pain, but I’ll be all right.”
The fourth game of the series holds historical significance in that, should Golden State lose and go 3-1 behind, they would have to realise a feat managed only once before in basketball history in order to turn the tide.
The Cleveland Cavaliers team of 2016 are the only team ever to have recovered from such a scoreline in the NBA Finals, managing three wins on the spin to take the crown in game seven – against the Warriors, of all teams (Golden State Warriors 3/1 – 4-3 Series Correct Score).