Oh My Andre! Iguodala Clutch in NBA Playoffs
Sunday’s Game 2 of the NBA Finals was quite the occasion for the Dubs’ veteran forward Andre Iguodala. He became the fourth player in team history to appear in 100 postseason games as a Warrior, joining teammates Klay Thompson (120 games), Draymond Green (119) and Stephen Curry (108).
Oh, he also drilled a very important shot late in the game.
The three-pointer to seal the victory for the Warriors was perhaps his most clutch field goal of the season: besides padding their lead with just under six seconds left in the contest, it ensured the Dubs would come home with the NBA Finals tied at one game apiece.
That was not his first such shot of this postseason, either.
It was just over one month ago in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals when he was, again, left alone on the left side of the perimeter. Same shot, same result. Though the game was forced into overtime and the Dubs did not pull out the victory, Iguodala’s presence was felt as he finished with 16 points on 3-of-4 from three-point range.
He was just getting warmed up, too. Iguodala came back in Game 6, the series clinching game on the road in Houston, with a career playoff high five three pointers. That was the most he had made in any game since November 4, 2013 (7-for-11 from three-point range), back in his fourth ever game in a Warriors jersey.
Though the splashes have been fun to watch, Iguodala has done far more for the Dubs than score buckets for the team: he has continued to prove that, even in his fifteenth season, he remains a dependable, intelligent player on both ends of the floor. He has set a new career record for blocks in a postseason this year with 16, which surpasses his total for the previous two playoffs combined (14). And as the Portland Trail Blazers found out, Iguodala still has some of the best hands in the business.
Dubs fans know these clutch performances have not been limited to this season alone, and that the best version of Iguodala shows up when the team needs him.
For example, take a look back at the last two NBA Finals and you’ll see a pattern emerge: not only did Iguodala come through in the clutch, but he did so on both sides of the ball.
A prime example came in Game 3 of the 2017 Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers were at home with a chance to send the game into overtime in the final seconds, so with the game on the line everyone knew who would be taking the shot: LeBron James. Who would be there to guard James but Iguodala. Without hesitation or fear, Iguodala got his hands on the ball prior to James taking the shot, stripped it away, and the Warriors reclaimed possession on what may have been one of the most crucial plays of the series.
(Looks eerily familiar to this year’s play against Portland, does it not?)
Fast forward to Game 5 of that series and you see Iguodala return as a key contributor in another way: he finished with 20 points on an efficient 9-of-14 night, and was the third-highest scorer on the team behind Kevin Durant (39 points) and Stephen Curry (34). Not a bad way to help your team secure a second NBA Championship in three years.
During last year’s Finals, it was much of the same story as Iguodala put in work to secure the Dubs’ bid to become back-to-back NBA Champions. In fact, he showed it all in one play during Game 3: another strip steal (this time off of Kevin Love) and initiating the push ahead for the critical three-point bucket with just over two minutes remaining in the game.
That was not a flash-in-the-pan in the series for Iguodala either. He would come right back the next game with another complete stat line en route to clinching the teams’ second title in a row: 11 points on 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, two steals, and two blocks.
Of course we cannot leave out what may have been Iguodala’s greatest accomplishment: earning the 2015 Finals MVP. He finished the series averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4 assists. It marked the first time a player earned the award when they had neither started a game during the regular season nor every game of the Finals.
Iguodala’s production was not just seen in the stat sheet, though. That honor was earned in part because of his defense all series long, especially while guarding LeBron James.
Iguodala is consistently praised for his high basketball IQ, but he also has proven to be among the most clutch performers in the NBA Playoffs on offense and defense.
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