The feeling process is complete. All even at 2-2 in the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors now face off in the best of three for the championship.
Two relatively healthy teams, refreshed after two days off, will face off in Game 5 in San Francisco on Monday night.
“It’s the final,” summed up Celtics star Jayson Tatum.
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
“It’s not going to be easy. It shouldn’t be. We know we both want it, and we have to go get it.
The first four games were about as close as it gets… except for the final scores.
The Warriors outscored the Celtics by a total of 422-421, belying the fact that no game was decided by less than 10 points.
Stephen Curry has a series record 25 of the Warriors’ 64 three-pointers, including seven on 14 attempts in a spectacular 43-point performance that drew Golden State even in a 107-97 triumph at Boston in Game 4 on Friday.
“This man’s heart is amazing,” teammate Klay Thompson said.
“The things he does we kind of take for granted at times, but to go out there and put us on our backs, I mean, we have to help him (in Game 5).”
The Warriors did it the last time the clubs met in San Francisco in Game 2. Curry had 29 points but Jordan Poole contributed with 17 off the bench, Gary Payton II returned from a broken elbow to make his three shots, and Golden State’s other four starters had 43 points, 21 rebounds, 12 assists and six steals in a team effort that produced a 107-88 win.
It came three nights after the Celtics, the best road team in the playoffs, temporarily stole home-court advantage by securing a similar type of balanced production in a series-opening 120-108 win. Al Horford (26), Jaylen Brown (24), Derrick White (21) and Marcus Smart (18) contributed 89 points to the cause on a night when Tatum struggled to reach 12.
The Celtics went 8-3 on the road in the playoffs while the Warriors went 10-1 at home.
After seeing rival Curry at his best in Game 4, Tatum thinks it’s his turn to make the difference.
“I just have to be better,” insisted Tatum, the series’ only first-team All-NBA player.
“I know I can be better, so it’s not like me, myself or my team are asking me to do something that I’m not capable of. They know the level and I know the level at which I can play.
“It’s not too much pressure at all. It’s kind of my job. »