Stephen Curry’s Game 4 might be top feat of his Warriors career

BOSTON — How heavy is the weight of a team trying to even an NBA Finals on the road? In one of the most hostile locations in NBA history?

Pretty damn heavy. But Stephen Curry lifted the whole Golden State Warriors organization onto his shoulders, ignored his strained left foot, and carried the team to a 107-97 victory. And a 2-2 series tie heading back to San Francisco.

Curry has given us so many remarkable performances in his career, that sometimes they all begin to blur together in a montage of 3-point shots, joyful shimmies and “night night” celebrations.

But Friday night at TD Garden may have been his very best. Given his age, his injury, the venue, the venom and the stakes.

“The heart on that man is incredible,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said. “I think this was probably No. 1. This was nearly a must-win game.”

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, 30, passes off against Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart, 36, during the second quarter in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., on Friday, June 10, 2022.

Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

At age 34, in his sixth NBA Finals, Curry scored 43 points, including 24 second-half points. It was his second-highest point total in a Finals game, behind 47 points against Toronto. He had 10 rebounds. He became the second oldest player in Finals history to have a 40-point, 10-rebound game, behind LeBron James in the bubble year. Curry shot 50% from beyond the 3-point line (7-for-14). And he did it all in an NBA Finals game against the league’s best defense.

Even though at one point there were “F— you, Steph,” chants from the Celtics crowd, Curry quieted the Garden. In the final moments, all you could hear were the stealth Curry cheers and at one point, late in the game, an “MVP” chant when he was shooting free throws.

“There’s a lot of pride in our group,” Curry said. “A lot of talk over the last 48 hours about how we can get back into the series and win in this building. We finally figured it out in the fourth quarter to get some steps and execute on the other end.

“To win on the road and get home-court advantage back, that’s big for this group.”

Extremely big. Extraordinarily big. Teams that fall behind 3-1 in an NBA Finals have lost the series 35 out of 36 times. The one team that won? The Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, who did it at the expense of the Warriors.

So, yes, Game 4 was virtually a must-win.

For 46 hours between Games 3 and 4, the Warriors and their fans held their collective breath, hoping that Curry’s left foot would be good to go.

He had hurt it toward the end of Game 3, when 240-pound Al Horford fell on it, inflicting a similar injury to the one that had shelved Curry at the end of the regular season. He had it wrapped later that night and was walking gingerly but was optimistic that he would play. He looked good in shootaround and was not on a minutes restriction.

“Yeah, he was laboring out there,” head coach Steve Kerr cracked after the game. “No, it never even looked like a factor.

“He was stunning. The physicality out there is pretty dramatic. … I think this is the strongest physically he’s ever been.”

Friday’s game was the closest of the series, and it was a battle every moment. It was the kind of game where the Warriors had to rely on their experience and stay calm in the moment.

“We’ve been here six times,” Curry said. “You’ve got a lot of experience in terms of staying composed and confident in what you can do.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is fouled by Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown as Jayson Tatum defends in 2nd quarter during Game 4 of NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., on Friday, June 10, 2022.

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry is fouled by Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown as Jayson Tatum defends in 2nd quarter during Game 4 of NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston, Mass., on Friday, June 10, 2022.

Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle

“You can see by just the daps and the celebration that we knew how big this game was. So, I personally just thank God that I avoided significant injury so I could play, do what we did and go home. That 5 1/2-hour flight just got a little better tonight.”

The intensity and the fire were high with everyone in Game 4.

At one point, after hitting back-to-back 3-point shots, Curry ran down the sideline talking some smack to Celtics fans. It was an uncharacteristically early point in the game for Curry to show that kind of fire.