There was no way Steph Curry would let the Golden State Warriors go back to San Francisco down 3-1. Playing in all but seven minutes in Game 4, Steph Curry had one of the most efficient shooting performances from any guard.
The two-time MVP shot 14-of-26 from the field with 7-of-14 from three. He even took matters into his own hands and grabbed 10 rebounds in what was likely the biggest game of his career.
When the Celtics started to build on their lead a bit more, Curry would figure out ways to score regardless if he was double-teamed or not.
There are times when the truly transcendent players of all time will not let their teams lose, and Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Finals was Curry’s turn.
Think of LeBron James in 2007. When he scored the Cleveland Cavaliers’ final 25 points in Game 5 against the Detroit Pistons to will his team to victory.
Or Magic Johnson in Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals, taking over at center for injured Kareem-Abdul Jabber, logging 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists to help the Lakers close out the Sixers.
“I think probably No. 1,” Klay Thompson says in regards to where Curry’s Game 4 performance ranked in his career. “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, with how they attacked him on defense—his conditioning is second to none in this league.
Steph played incredible.”
Curry’s Newfound Strength Makes Him More Than a Shooter
With the Celtics ranking No. 1 in defensive rating during the regular season, it is extraordinary that Curry is still able to post such a dominant performance against so many hard-nosed wing Celtics defenders. However, none of this would be possible without what Curry changed about a year ago.
During Game 4’s postgame press conference, head coach Steve Kerr lauded Curry for being in the best shape in his career.
“Just stunning,” Kerr says after the game. “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.”
It was just two days ago when Curry seemed to reinjure his left leg, which caused him to miss the last segment of the regular season. He came out firing on all cylinders and even grabbed ten rebounds.
Could Curry have done this earlier in his career, when he had all those ankle problems? Probably not.
Curry Hopes to Build Longevity by Bulking Up?
In a recent ESPN feature by Baxter Holmes, he delves into how Curry has transformed his body to help his career last longer.
“He is strong. And when I say strong, I mean strong,” Green told ESPN. “Like, if you go in our weight room, and we’re doing dumbbell bench press, Steph is in the hundred [pound] club. Not many people get to the hundred club. His legs [are] super strong. That change happened last year.”
It is quite interesting, given shooters are told to not lift too many weights, as it has always has been said that it messed with accuracy. The fact that Curry went from 185 pounds to 200 now, while still holding his throne as the greatest shooter of all time has people taking notice.
With Curry’s performance in Game 4, he may very well have dispelled that stereotype about shooters—just as he did almost a decade ago when some people did not think shooters could win championships.