NBA Finals MVP ladder: Stephen Curry jumps to No. 1 with an electric Game 4


Stephen Curry silences the TD Garden with an iconic 43-point performance in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Complete coverage: NBA Finals 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – By now, you’ve heard all about Stephen Curry’s incendiary performance in Game 4 at TD Garden.

But let’s take a moment to acknowledge his teammate Andrew Wiggins, who jumps to the No. 5 position in today’s edition of our 2022 Race to the NBA Finals MVP run after taking 16 boards in the Game. 4, the highest of his career. In doing so, he became the first Golden State Warrior since Nate Thurmond in 1967 to finish with at least 17 points and 16 rebounds in an NBA Finals.

“I just know that in the last game they had outrebounded us and got all the offensive rebounds,” he said. “I just wanted to come in and be aggressive on the boards and try to help.”

Wiggins produced such a monstrous production in what we can safely qualify as the biggest outing of his career as he helped Golden State even the Finals at 2-2 heading home for Game 5.

Also consider the former No. 1 overall pick’s impact on the defensive end, where he’s often tasked with slowing down Celtics superstars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Wiggs was fantastic” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “To go against Boston, you have to deal with Tatum and Brown, and they are just powerful, skilled players. They come downhill at you constantly.”

However, Wiggins continues to make it an uphill battle for the producing duo when Boston needs it most.

In four head-to-head games against Tatum in this series, Wiggins has limited the forward to 34 points on 13-of-39 shooting, while Brown has scored just seven on 2-of-8 shooting when guarded by the Canadian.

The 27-year-old finished plus-20 and grabbed six of his rebounds in the deciding fourth quarter.

“Wiggs has done what he has done every playoff: make it difficult for the opposing starter to score,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “[He] He rebounded a lot on the ball, which he has done throughout the playoffs.”

And now, the Top 5 in our 2022 run to the NBA Finals MVP ladder after Game 4:


1. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

NBA Finals stats: 34.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.8 apg

Stephen Curry joins Jerry West and Magic Johnson as the only point guards to record a 40-point, 10-rebound game in the NBA Finals.

What can we say that hasn’t already been said about Curry’s nearly flawless performance in Game 4? We saw where this was headed early on, when the point guard nailed a early 3 that forced a timeout by the Celtics. That was simply transferred to a 14 point format. third quarterthen a super efficient final frame when Golden State went on a 17-3 run in the final five minutes. One could legitimately argue that Curry has already won the NBA Finals MVP just four games into this series. But of course, we still have to let this play out on the court as we return to the thick of this NBA Finals dogfight on Monday at the Chase Center.


2. Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics

NBA Finals stats: 22.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.8 apg

Finals Movie Theater: Sam Mitchell and Jason Terry discuss Jaylen Brown’s performance in Game 4.

Usually aggressive, Brown took his first shot of the night with 7:31 left in the first quarter and finished with just two points before scoring 10 in the second quarter. Brown eclipsed the 500-point mark in the 2022 NBA playoffs but produced just nine points on 4-of-11 shooting in the second half in what was a missed opportunity for Boston. brown tried attack down the stretch, but the Celtics need more from both him and Tatum as the series returns to San Francisco. “Nights like this, it’s hard to take a loss on our floor,” Brown said.


3. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

NBA Finals stats: 22.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 7.8 apg

Jayson Tatum is averaging just 8.3 points on 26.5% shooting in the second half of the NBA Finals.

We’ve seen it in glimpses, but colleague Shaun Powell points out that Boston is still waiting for the emergence of the superstar who shone in the previous three rounds of the playoffs. In the second half of the first four games, Tatum is minus-19 while averaging 8.3 points on 26.5% from the floor and 21.4% from 3-point range. “Sometimes he’s looking for fouls,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “It is a team that charges in certain games. He’s finding ways out, shooting two, three guys.” Tatum also had six turnovers in Game 4 and is averaging 3.5 in this series.


4. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

NBA Finals stats: 17.3 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apg

“What a smart win,” Klay Thompson said after scoring 25 points in Game 4.

Thompson joined Curry and Green in winning 19 career NBA Finals contests to tie San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili for the most Finals wins by any trio in the past 50 seasons. Thompson and Curry (18 points) nearly outscored the entire Celtics roster (19 points) in the fourth quarter when they combined to go 5-for-8 from the field and 3-for-4 from deep. Defensively, Thompson just couldn’t be beaten on the dribble down the stretch. “To be out there and compete on this stage, like, wow, I can’t believe I’m here considering where I was at this time last year,” Thompson said.


5. Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors

NBA Finals stats: 16.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.5 apg

Andrew Wiggins scores 17 points and grabs a career-high 16 rebounds in Game 4.

Credit Wiggins for helping the Warriors improve to 2-13 all-time in the playoffs in Boston, as they secured their first home postseason win for the Celtics since 1960. If you haven’t noticed by now, the Golden State’s fortunes seem largely dependent on how Wiggins performs. In Game 3, Boston crushed the Warriors on the boards (47-31) with the forward producing just seven rebounds in a 116-100 loss. In Game 4, his 13 defensive rebounds helped the Warriors limit the Celtics to 12 second-chance points, compared to 19 for his own team.

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Michael C. Wright is a senior writer for NBA.com. You can send him an email herefind your file here and follow him on Twitter.

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