Andre Iguodala just pulled off the most clutch defensive play in the NBA playoffs since…I dunno, 2016 and “The Block”?
Sure, Iguodala’s game-sealing steal from Damian Lillard to seal the Golden State Warriors’ 114-111 win over the Portland Trail Blazers and put them up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals didn’t have nearly the stakes of LeBron James‘ classic defensive play in Game 7 of a Finals that was the greatest moment in Cleveland sports history, but it still made the difference between a series that isn’t expected to be competitive going chalk and “could the Blazers win this thing” narratives.
The Warriors just took the first two games of this series without Kevin Durant. In the process, they look like the team everyone loved in 2015 rather than the team full of mercenary villains—all the more so since DeMarcus Cousins is already gone for the duration—that they’ve become.
The real irony here is that the love of the broader American sporting public is going to be what pushes Durant to the Knicks, because if Durant’s goal was to define his legacy, he managed to do it in Oakland by becoming the most hated man in the sport. Even Warriors fans know he’s a sellsword.
Andrew Bogut started and played four minutes, which brings up the question of why start Andrew Bogut?
Stephen Curry, left without Durant, has found his groove, scoring 37 points, shooting 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) from three and 11-of-11 from the line, and leading a Warriors attack that pushed five players into double figures.
The Warriors were down 15 at the half but exploded for a 39-24 third quarter to set up the thrilling finish.
Meanwhile, Portland had that killer of teams, the Bad Game as defined on this site (>=20 FGA, FGA>PTS), a scenario where teams, per 82 games, go 26-56 when at least one of their players posts such a debacle from the field.
CJ McCollum was the guilty party this time with 22 points on 9-of-23 shooting.
Portland shot the ball exceptionally well from three, hitting 18-of-39 (46.2 percent) compared to 9-of-29 (31 percent) for the Warriors…but the Blazers still lost. That’s not a good sign for Games 3 and 4 in Rip City.
Of course, the Warriors’ points had to come from somewhere, and that’s where their excellent finishing served them well; they shot 33-of-53 (62.3 percent) on two-pointers.
Throw in a 50-37 advantage on the glass and there’s your ballgame…along with one tremendous case of grand theft roundball:
gettin’ iggy with it
— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) May 17, 2019
That is some quality defense when it matters most.
Party like it’s 2015, supporting players:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 17, 2019
Steph 37, Seth Curry 16:
Game 3: Saturday (5/18), 9pm/et, ESPN pic.twitter.com/NZwngizzDI
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2019
Highlights from a furious come-from-behind win with a 14-3 run to end it:
14-3 run to close the game helps give the @warriors a 2-0 series lead over Portland in the Western Conference Finals!
— NBA (@NBA) May 17, 2019
You get breakfast on a drip feed the rest of the way, as the league might just end up giving us plenty of days off if Dubs-Blazers is short work and Bucks-Raptors turns into a 7-game thrill ride, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
In the meantime, we’ve got features, so click on “Analysis” or “Rants and Hot Takes” at the top of the page and enjoy some of the best writing on the site.
Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!