• Cyrus Rogers

Iguodala helps Warriors grab Game 2 victory

African Golden State Warriors fans had a hero on the Warriors team with Nigerian-American Andre Iguodala slaying the Raptors in Game 2 with a late three-pointer. The Warriors won the close game 109-104 in Toronto, Canada.

The Raptors were keen to go up by two games in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, but found themselves chasing their tails, as the Warriors laid waste to their superb defensive prowess in a game that showed just how good the champions can be.

Iguodala might not necessarily have had the best night statistically, but when it mattered most, he came up trumps. His stat-line read eight points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block, but his three-point shot with only 5.9 seconds left on the clock meant that the Warriors could hold on for a lead to win Game 2 against the hosts, stealing home court advantage.

The forgotten man of this series so far has been former Finals MVP Iguodala, who is still managing to do it all at the ripe old age of 35, and when it came down to it, he didn't miss his wide open jumper as the Raptors gave him the freedom of Scotiabank Arena. The 6’6” forward was doing everything that the Warriors needed of him, and he did it all with his regular composure and calm. Warriors coach Steve Kerr was elated with the win and felt that Iguodala’s late shot was just the kind of thing he’s always done throughout his career, “He's just got a lot of experience, he's done everything in his career, he's been in the Olympics, he's won three rings, he's been an All-Star, he knows how to play, 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.”

Kawhi Leonard was yet again the star player for the Toronto franchise as he scored 31 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished three assists, stealing the ball once and blocking a shot. Cameroonian Pascal Siakam had a quiet night by his now lofty standards, especially after his heroics in Game 1. He scored 12 points, grabbed eight boards and dished five assists; Fred van fleet was excellent off the bench with 17 points and Congolese centre Serge Ibaka had seven points, 10 rebounds.

It was the rest of the Raptors that let the side down in the loss, Marc Gasol only got six points with six rebounds, Danny Green finished with eight points and five rebounds. Kyle Lowry fouled out with did weigh in with 13 points, though he only had two assists. Lowry was understandably circumspect after losing at home and spoke about his foul trouble in the Finals and dealing with that going forward, “I’m not going to get in trouble. But a couple of them I didn’t think I fouled. Then you’ve got to just keep moving on. At the end of the day, I just have to put myself in a better position not to foul.” Lowry felt that the real turning point in the game was the third quarter; when the Warriors turned it on and scored at will to make the Raptors pay for their mistakes, “We didn’t play well enough. We missed too many shots. They got out in transition and got a little bit of confidence going. Third quarter. We lost the game there. We fought back and did a great job, but we missed some looks in the third quarter that we usually make.”

For the Warriors, they had their frontline duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson leading the way as Thompson top-scored for them with 25 points. He also had five rebounds, five assists, and one steal but was injured late in the game. The Warriors clung on while Thompson was off the court with an apparent hamstring issue. Steph Curry scored 23 points to go with three rebounds, four assists, as well as three steals as he showed the ‘Splash Brothers’ can hurt any team.

It was the introduction of Marcus Cousins into the starting five that really saw the best come out of the Warriors. Boogie Cousins who is making his way back to fitness after his recent quad injury, had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. The big man also contributed six assists to go with that and he blocked two shots as well. Draymond Green was one assist shy of a triple-double that would have been his second in these Finals. He had 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, he also stole the ball once and blocked a shot. The injury too Kevon Looney will be of major concern for the defending champions, who found a way to prevail against a Raptors team that had home court advantage and the fans behind them.

The Dubs battled through all the injury issues to come up on top and have tied the best-of-seven series 1-1; Game 3 is at 3am CAT Thursday morning. More fireworks are expected back in the Bay Area.

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