Barber: Andre Iguodala is man of the moment as Warriors beat Raptors 109-104
TORONTO — They were two stretches of basketball that ran roughly 5 minutes each, and they bore little resemblance except for one thing: Andre Iguodala emerged as the hero of both.
The Warriors’ 109-104 win against the Raptors in Game 2 of the NBA Finals was an epic of the genre. The Return of Boogie. Klay’s Bad Landing. Curry Just Adds Water. Dusting Off Bogut. Quinn Cook Makes an Impact. Draymond vs. Siakam. Thanks, Obama. This one had so many facets, it could be been one of the diamonds that will eventually grace the rings of the team that wins this series.
If that team is the Warriors, they will look back at Sunday’s game as a major turning point. And they will remember Iguodala as the man who defined those two 5-minute runs.
The first came right after halftime. The Warriors had ended the second quarter on a 6-1 run, preventing a full collapse in the face of another Canadian cascade. But they still trailed 59-54 after 24 minutes. I don’t have to tell you how dire the situation would be if the Warriors had returned to Oakland trailing 2-0 against a younger, faster, hungrier opponent.
They needed one of their big third-quarter runs. And good heavens, did they get one.
The Warriors team that emerged from the locker room at halftime was the one everyone had been waiting for (well, everyone but the Raptors, I suppose) since these Finals started. In one glorious 5-minute, 25-second stretch, the champions could almost literally do nothing wrong. Golden State hit 8 of 12 shots while Toronto went 0 for 8. The Warriors grabbed nine rebounds; the Raptors had three. Toronto sputtered into five turnovers, including three in a 35-second span.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse called two timeouts during the blitz, and neither did much to help. It was a disaster for the Eastern Conference champions. And in this game, it would prove fatal.
When the dust settled, the Warriors had completed an 18-0 run, building a lead of 72-59. We have come to expect this sort of flash flood of points over the past five years. But considering the context and the totality of the rout, this one was hard to top.
And Iguodala seemed to be in the middle of everything during those 5 minutes and 25 seconds. He started the rock rolling with a long 2-point jumper from the left side at 11:01, walled off Toronto’s Marc Gasol on a Stephen Curry bank shot at 10:43, cashed in a wide-open 3-pointer from the right side at 10:11, stole the ball from Kyle Lowry at 9:31, rebounded Gasol’s miss at 8:40, blocked Pascal Siakam’s shot at 8:21, rebounded another miss at 7:45 and snagged yet another at 6:40.
“He ignited it, I think,” Golden State’s Alfonzo McKinnie said of Iguodala. “He got stops, and then he got buckets. I mean, Andre been great all year. Veteran guy, has a lot of experience. Knows how to play the game the right way.”
Iguodala was everywhere. And there was no reason to expect that to happen.
At the 3:27 mark of the second quarter, as Norman Powell drained a 3 to bump the Raptors’ lead to 50-40, Iguodala lay on the ground holding the back of his head, courtesy of a Gasol screen. He spent the ensuing timeout on one knee, gathering clarity. Iguodala left the game at that point, and sat for the rest of the half.