Iguodala stealing show again for Warriors

Sat Jun 4, 2016 8:57pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The NBA Finals might have been billed as a showdown between the game’s top two players, Stephen Curry and LeBron James, but sneaky Golden State reserve Andre Iguodala is stealing both headlines and possessions, not for the first time in the championship series.

Iguodala took home one of the more unlikely NBA Finals MVP awards in 2015 for his smothering defense on LeBron James and burst of energy after being inserted into the starting lineup midway through the series.

One year later, the Warriors veteran is up to his old tricks in a title rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

As sharpshooters Curry and Klay Thompson fell ice cold in Game One on Thursday, Iguodala helped lead a Golden State bench that outscored Cleveland’s 45-10 en route to an opening victory.

Iguodala finished with a versatile stat line of 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists, one blocked shot and one steal. On two key plays, he stripped the ball away from James and Kyrie Irving to start a Warriors’ fast break.

“He’s great at doing that, for sure,” James told reporters. “(I) just got to do a better job of protecting the ball.”

Many offensive players have tried unsuccessfully against Iguodala, who helped snatch the Western Conference Finals for Golden State when he was put into the starting lineup for the Game Seven decider win over Oklahoma City.

“(He guarded) Kevin Durant last series, LeBron this series,” said Warriors guard Shaun Livingston. “He’s our most valuable piece on the team, with Steph and Draymond (Green).”

Iguodala, 32, has been called “the adult in the room” by Golden State coach Steve Kerr, and he kept his typical cool in the opener when Cleveland’s Matthew Dellavedova struck him in the groin while committing a foul.   Continued...

June 2, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) defends against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half in game one of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports