Stephen Curry saw it as an insult that the Toronto left Andre Iguodala open for what became the decisive 3-point basket in Golden State’s victory Sunday in the NBA Finals.
That made it all the sweeter when Iguodala, who was 1-of-14 from beyond the arc before his crucial shot, sank the bucket to clinch a 109-104 victory that pulled the defending champions level 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.
“It’s kind of disrespectful to leave Andre Iguodala open like that,” Curry said. “He has made big shots like that before.”
Raptors reserve Fred VanVleet, who struck for 17 points in the loss, said Toronto was not insulting Iguodala, but he simply was the option they were most willing to have take a long-range shot in the late-game situation.
“They found Iggy on the way back out and he got a wide-open look,” said VanVleet. “He knocked it down. So that was a really big shot for him. We would like to have contested that a little bit more.
“We don’t disrespect those guys. We know Iggy’s made big shots in his whole career. We’ve seen that movie before.”
When the alternative is leaving the ball in the hands of 30-point sharpshooter Stephen Curry, who struck for 23 points, Iguodala didn’t seem so bad a choice.
“I’m going to probably live with that,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “It wasn’t like we were disrespecting him and not trying to guard him.
“He misses that we call timeout, we go down with a chance to win the ball game unbelievably, somehow.”
The Raptors led by 12 in the second quarter, surrendered the first 18 points of the third quarter to fall behind by 13 and nearly battled back to win by silencing Golden State more more than 5:30 until Iguodala’s shot.
“He’s just got a lot of experience,” Kerr said. “He has done everything in his career, been in the Olympics, won three rings, one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around.
“I think he sensed that we needed his production in that second half and he came alive.
Warriors teammate Draymond Green said Iguodala’s shot was simply what the team knows he can do.
“As big as Andre’s shot was, we have come to expect Andre to hit big shots,” Green said. “Since he’s been here I’ve seen him hit several game winners. I’ve seen him put the icing on the cake at several wins.” (Agence France-Presse)