OAKLAND (CBS SF) — With the clock running down and the Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals on the line, Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala came up with a ‘walk-off’ steal off Portland’s Damian Lillard to seal the 114-111 victory.
Whether there was a foul or not seem to rest where your loyalties lie. Portland fans felt Lillard was definitely fouled and took to social media to voice their displeasure. The Warriors faithful shook their heads and said it was just a typical Iguodala play.
On Friday, the NBA released its final two-minute report on the game and concluded there was no foul on the play.
“Iguodala (GSW) makes marginal contact with Lillard (POR) on the perimeter before cleanly stripping the ball,” the league’s report read.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the play wasn’t surprising, he’s seen it before.
“He’s done that before during my five years here,” the Warriors head coach told reports. “I think I’ve seen him do that a couple times. He’s an incredible defender because he’s got the whole package between the athleticism, length and most importantly the brain.”
Few players in the NBA reach the cerebral level of Iguodala. He’s a hunter on defense, stalking his prey, using the player’s offensive tendencies against them. It’s those instincts that won him the MVP of the 2015 playoffs.
“He just understand his opponent, he understands the spots where the opponent is trying to get to and (has) quick hands to get a steal like he did on the last play,” Kerr said. “It was an amazing play against one of the best players in the league.”
Teammate Draymond Green, last year’s defensive player of the year, was also not surprised by the play.
“It was not a surprise because he gets that strip quite a bit,” Green said. “I think the most important thing right there in that situation is Dre’s intelligence.”
Lillard got the ball with 10 seconds left on the clock, as he tried to step back and take what would have been a tying 3-pointer, Iguodala stripped the ball, tossed it to Steph Curry in the front court and the time ran out.
“They knew we were going to go for the three,” Lillard said. “I was just trying to get space to get a three up … He grabbed my arm. I lost the ball a little bit. I regained it and I was going to shoot it. He got his hand on the ball. For me as the offensive player, I felt like there was contact. Obviously the ref was not going decide the game. (So it) was a good defensive play.”
Iguodala downplayed the steal.
“You actually can take risks outside the three-point line,” he said. “You can be extra aggressive. The key is not to give that (a tying 3-point shot) up so if a guy drives by you (and scores) you still got the lead. So when you look at it that way, it wasn’t that good of a play. You just take the odds and the odds are in your favor for something like that to happen outside the 3-point line. “