The 2022 NBA Finals continue with the Boston Celtics ahead 2-1 in the series, and with a chance to pad their lead in Game 4 at home on Friday night against the Golden State Warriors. Jaylen Brown has been the most consistent scorer for the Celtics in the NBA Finals and his steady play has been one of the reasons they’re just two games away from winning the championship.

The Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown blows by Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the NBA Finals at TD Garden. (Image: Getty)

The Warriors are in a tough spot and need to win Game 4 to tie the series with Game 5 scheduled back in the Bay Area on Monday night. The Warriors are +4 underdogs.

Steph Curry suffered a leg injury late in Game 3, but he didn’t undergo an MRI. He was spotted at practice yesterday and insists he’s playing in Game 4 despite his obvious limp.

2022 NBA Finals – Game 4 Preview
Golden State Warriors (1-2) at Boston Celtics (2-1)
  • Tip-off: 9 pm PT, ABC
  • Location: TD Garden, Boston
  • Point Spread: BOS -4
  • Total: 214.5 o/u
  • Moneyline: GSW +145 / BOS -165

The Celtics are -240 odds to win the 2022 NBA Championship, and the Warriors are +200 to pull off the comeback and storm back to win the title.

The NBA announced referee assignments for Game 4 with James Capers as the crew chief, along with Kane Fitzgerald, Eric Lewis, and Sean Wright (alternate).

Warriors: Green the X-factor in Game 4

The Warriors hope Thompson busted out of his mini-slump with 25 points and five 3-pointers in Game 3. Yet, as soon as Thompson got rolling, Draymond Green had one of his worst performances in this year’s postseason, and probably of his career. Green has been more of a hindrance than a boost in the NBA Finals.

Despite falling behind the Celtics 2-1, the Warriors aren’t in panic mode heading into Game 4.

“We’ve been here before,” said Thompson said. “We can rely on our experience.”

In 26 consecutive postseason series, the Warriors won at least one road game. This bodes well if you dig historical trends, but the Warriors need a little more than history on their side. They have to play better defense and have their offense show up in the fourth quarter. Scoring 11 points in Game 3’s loss is simply unacceptable.

It was a little troubling that all the profanity from surly Boston fans got inside the Warriors’ heads, particularly the “F–k Draymond!” chants. You expect the Warrior will be mentally tougher and like Teflon in Game 4 instead of worrying about all the F-bombs and low-fi racist comments.

Curry is the biggest concern. He’s been shooting lights out, averaging 31.3 ppg and 48.6% from 3-point range, but the Warriors would hate to see a great scoring effort from Curry get squandered. There’s a good chance Curry could become the second player on a losing team to win the MVP, something that’s only happened once since 1969.

“Plenty of ball still left,” said Curry.

Celtics: Jaylen Brown shines

This is Jayson Tatum’s team, but Jaylen Brown saved his best ball for the NBA Finals. He averages a team-high 22.7 ppg in the finals while shooting 42.9% from the floor. Brown also averages 7.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game, but most importantly, he only coughed the ball up twice in each of the last two games. When the Celtics commit a flurry of turnovers, they gift the Warriors easy transition buckets, which is a heavy staple of Golden State’s offense.

In the past, teams just double-teamed Tatum and forced Brown to beat them. That strategy isn’t working in the 2022 playoffs, especially in the NBA Finals.

“Since Ime Udoka has been here, he wanted to put the ball in my hands more so than at any other point in my career,” said Brown. “I made leaps by getting that experience and things like that. Sometimes, I make the wrong read. I’m human, make mistakes. But if you put the ball in my hands, more often than not, I’m going to put ourselves in a good position to win.”

Heading into Game 4, the Warriors can’t allow Brown to get hot early. At the same time, the Warriors can’t let the Celtics get hot in the fourth quarter in Game 4.

The Celtics are notorious for their sluggish starts in the third quarter, but they typically bounce back in the final frame. The Warriors were outscored by 40 points in the fourth quarter over the first three games, including by 24 points in Game 1, and 12 points in Game 3.

Check out more coverage of the 2022 NBA playoffs.