The Celtics can take a big step toward an NBA title on Friday.
They host the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, and after winning Game 3, the Celtics can go up 3-1 with a victory. However, if the Warriors win, Golden State regains home court advantage and will host Game 5 on Monday with a 2-2 series.
We’ll have everything covered up to the final Game 4 buzzer here.
Click here to update.
7:32 a.m.: Brown has his moment. With the game tied, he went to the cup to get an easy lay-up. After a bad pass from Steph Curry landed in his hands, Brown drove 1-for-2, firing a shot as he dropped into the basket to give the Celtics a 90-86 lead. Jordan Poole was also whistled for a loose ball foul on the shot.
8:46 a.m.: Incredible shots to start the shift. Tatum found White in the corner for a 3-pointer. Tatum created a dribble split for his own 3-pointer. Klay Thompson made a deep 3 down the wing. Brown did a spinning jumper with Green on top of him.
We are tied at 86.
End of third quarter: Warriors 79, Celtics 78
Curry made another 3-pointer before the quarter ended, giving him 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the frame.
While Boston lost the third quarter (again), it wasn’t as predictable as other third quarters in this series. He trails only one point before the fourth.
1:57: Jaylen Brown just committed his fourth foul while being way too aggressive trying to deny an entry pass to Gary Payton II. Simply not necessary.
2h31: Seriously. Steph is unreal!
2h55: Steph Curry is going crazy again. He scored 11 points in the third, giving him 30 that night. His last 3-pointer was off balance and helped tie the game at 73-73.
6:14 a.m.: The Celtics were sloppy with the ball again, committing three turnovers to start the second half. But Golden State couldn’t take advantage of it. Marcus Smart already has seven points in the quarter and has been everywhere. His last bucket just gave the Celtics a 68-63 lead, forcing Kerr to call a timeout.
7:47 a.m.: The first few minutes were a breeze. After Golden State tied it at 54, Boston went 9-2 with Marcus Smart as the catalyst. He made a 3-pointer and on the next defensive possession, he stripped the ball from Green for an easy two-pointer.
11:15 a.m.: It didn’t even take a minute for the Warriors to get into their excellent third quarter. Curry and Thompson each had hard shots to tie the game at 54.
Half-time notes and observations
- Robert Williams has definitely been the Celtics’ biggest X-factor so far this series. When the Warriors decided to go with a small starting lineup in Game 4, he punished them, scoring three points, grabbing three rebounds and getting a block in the first four minutes of the game. He sustained that effort throughout the first half, scoring five points, grabbing 10 boards (four offense), blocking two shots and delivering two assists.
- Jayson Tatum had a disconcerting first half. He had times when he was the Celtics’ best player, making 3-for-4 3-pointers to give him a team-high 16 points, but he made sloppy turnovers (four) and missed four of his six shots in the paint. .
- Tatum’s negligence played a part in all 10 Celtics turnovers in the first half. The magic number is 16, in which the Celtics have yet to win a playoff game in which they have recorded at least that many turnovers.
- Jordan Poole had his best first half of the series, scoring 10 points off the bench to help the Warriors when Steph Curry was on the bench. However, he has three faults.
- Jaylen Brown also has three fouls. He had a good night to start, scoring 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
- Draymond Green looked terrible in the first half. He is yet to score tonight, missing all four shots he has taken. He got into foul trouble early on, picking up two fouls in the first quarter. But he has not been at fault since.
Halftime: Celtics 54, Warriors 49
The Celtics take the lead before the break for the third time in this series. A few key plays from White, who fired a charge and made a 3-pointer, plus a few saves gave the Celtics a little cushion before the break.
2:42: Jaylen Brown has just picked up two fouls on one possession. His second came as Steph Curry made a layup, giving him a 3-point game. Brown now has three fouls and is likely on the bench until the second half.
2:58: Derrick White just made a layup as flashy as you will see. He went into the paint and as he was spinning he was fouled by Klay Thompson. White tossed like a high kick as he went down and got the lucky rebound for a 3-point play. Boston is on a 10-0 run to take a 49-42 lead.
4:49: Poole has just committed his third foul and is probably done for the first half. He already has 10 points.
5:50 a.m.: Two star pieces from Celtics star players are rocking TD Garden.
Brown made a tough, scoop layup to tie the game at 39. On the next possession, Tatum pushed the ball away from Wiggins. As the ball rolled towards the Celtics bench, Tatum made a diving effort to try and keep it from going out of bounds. He was unsuccessful, but the sequence was enough for Kerr to call timeout.
6:56 a.m.: The first technical fault of the match goes to… Steve Kerr! The Warriors were hit with a T after complaining about a no-move call on Payton Pritchard, which turned into a shooting foul on Poole.
The Celtics were unable to take advantage of the referee’s error and Kerr’s technique, only making two of the three free throws. Golden State leads, 39-35.
9:27 a.m.: Tatum already has two bad turnovers this term, the last one leading to Jordan Poole’s second straight 3-pointer. Boston calls the timeout, trailing 33-28.
9:52 a.m.: Nobody scored in the first two minutes of the quarter. But Grant Williams just committed his third foul, which led to Ime Udoka bringing Jaylen Brown back into the game.
End of the first quarter: Celtics 28, Warriors 27
The return of Tatum and Robert Williams to the game was major for the Celtics. They outscored the Warriors 10-4 in the final two minutes of the quarter. Tatum made a 3-pointer. Robert Williams had a comeback on one of Tatum’s failures. And, to close out the quarter, Williams found Grant Williams wide open in the corner for 3 to give the Celtics a one-after-one lead.
2:01: After the Warriors’ poor offensive start, Andrew Wiggins already has eight points. A Celtics turnover led to a 3-point Steph Curry. Another poor offensive possession from the Celtics led to another Curry 3-pointer. Golden State holds a 23-18 lead.
Golden State is on an 11-2 run with Tatum on the bench.
4:18: Draymond Green, who was fouled in two of the first three games, is already at fault. Marcus Smart fired a charge call on Green, his second foul of the game.
5:30 a.m.: Jaylen Brown grabs his right shoulder after receiving a hard screen from Draymond Green.
6:41 a.m.: Jayson Tatum commits his first foul and is called on a charge. His elbow hit Andrew Wiggins in the face. We have our first timeout of the game and the Celtics lead, 12-6.
7:23 a.m.: Robert Williams against the Warriors’ small starting lineup: three points, three rebounds and one block. Steve Kerr asks Kevon Looney to replace Porter.
9:10 a.m.: The Celtics run on both sides. Tatum made two 3-pointers. Marcus Smart stripped Steph Curry and Robert Williams blocked a Curry layup. Boston leads 11-4.
10:56 a.m.: The Celtics have already managed to get Steph Curry to land his first foul. Jayson Tatum got it while filming in isolation. Tatum only managed one of two free throws.
11:20 a.m.: Klay Thompson scores on Golden State’s first possession. He will have to go offensively if the Warriors are to win.
12:00 p.m.: The Celtics win the tip and Marcus Smart makes a wide-open layup to kick off Game 4.
News and pre-game notes
9:03 p.m.: The pre-game festivities are over and the whistleblowing is fast approaching!
ESPN’s pregame set is 50/50 on who will win between the Celtics and Warriors tonight. Boston is a 4.5 point favorite.
Golden State is making an interesting change to its starting lineup. Starting center Kevon Looney is replaced by forward Otto Porter Jr., who will start alongside Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green.
Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Robert Williams will all start, as usual, for the Celtics.
For the curious, the list of celebrities participating in Match 4 does not contain A-listers. But several top local athletes, such as Matthew Judon and Damien Harris, as well as Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman and NBA All-Star Bradley Beal will be in attendance.
The Celtics are wearing their usual white uniforms tonight. Golden State is once again rocking the black substitutes.
8:25 p.m.: A local fisherman is to thank for all the lobster in the media room tonight…
8:15 p.m.: And now Draymond Green has his turn to get booed during warm-ups…
Steph Curry, meanwhile, finds the TD Garden antics funny.
Warriors goaltender Klay Thompson didn’t get the warmest of receptions when he came out for warm-ups ahead of Game 4.
Thompson objected to Celtics fans chanting “[expletive] Draymond!” in Game 3, jokingly say “the real Boston chic”.
- Everyone is available for both teams tonight, including Celtics center Robert Williams. The Celtics’ starting center played a pivotal role in their Game 3 win, scoring eight points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also looked like himself before meniscus surgery, blocking four shots and recording three interceptions.
- Warriors star point guard Steph Curry is also set to go. He suffered an injury at the end of Game 3 which he described as a similar injury to the one he suffered against the Celtics in March. The sprained ligament Curry suffered in that game kept him out of action for a month.
- How important is Friday’s Game 4? Teams that go 3-1 in the NBA Finals have won the series 35 of 36 times. The 2016 Warriors were the only team not to win the series after advancing 3-1.
- The Celtics are giving TD Garden fans a neat jersey for Friday’s game:
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