NBA-Curry leads Warriors past Celtics to level Finals series

Jun 10, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) takes a free-throw against the Boston Celtics during the fourth quarter of game four in the 2022 NBA Finals at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) -Stephen Curry erupted for 43 points as the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday to even the best-of-seven Finals series 2-2.

Curry, who was questionable to even play after he injured his foot in Wednesday's Game Three, put the team on his back to secure the gritty win in front of a hostile crowd at TD Garden in Boston.

"We knew how big this game was," Curry said.

"I just thank God that I avoided significant injury. And for us to come out and do what we did and go home? That five-and-a-half hour flight home just got a little bit better."

Curry put the game on ice with his seventh three pointer, which gave the Warriors a six-point cushion with less than two minutes to go in the back-and-forth contest.

Andrew Wiggins provided crucial support for Curry, scoring 17 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds while playing excellent defense.

The Celtics got off to a solid start and held a six point lead at halftime thanks to the aggressive play of Jaylen Brown and poor shooting by the visitors.

But the Boston offense got stagnant late in the fourth to open the door for Golden State, who took a 95-94 lead on a straightaway three pointer by Klay Thompson.

The Warriors would not trail again as they improved to 6-0 after a loss in the playoffs.

Curry's brilliance helped cover for subpar play from some of his supporting cast.

"He wasn't letting us lose, that's what it boils down to," said Draymond Green, who is aiming to win his fourth championships with Curry and Thompson.

"I could tell in his demeanor the last couple days that he was going to come out with that type of fire. And he did, and we were all able to follow it."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he was awestruck by Curry's performance.

"Just stunning," he said.

"This is the strongest physically he's ever been in his career, and it's allowing him to do what he's doing."

Thompson said it was Curry's best Finals performance ever.

"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.

"His conditioning is second-to-none in this league."

In the previous 30 instances when a Finals has been tied 2-2, the team that wins Game Five has gone on to win the series 73% of the time (22-8).

Kerr said the series will only get more intense as it shifts back to San Francisco for Game Five on Monday.

"I would expect both teams to bring every ounce of energy and emotion the rest of the way," he said.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in San Francisco; Editing by William Mallard & Shri Navaratnam)

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