Iguodala bolsters rep as postseason stopper

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Splash Brothers will get most of the credit for one of the most memorable Western Conference Finals games of all time.

But it was the final stretch from Andre Iguodala that made the 108-101 comeback victory possible.

The veteran forward stripped Kevin Durant for his first steal, setting up a Stephen Curry 3-pointer to tie the game with a little less than three minutes remaining.

A minute later, Iguodala ripped the Thunder’s other superstar, Russell Westbrook, leading to another 3-pointer in transition, this time by a streaking Klay Thompson.

With the Warriors up three, the Thunder secured an offensive rebound and Westbrook looked to pass the ball upcourt to Durant, but there was Iguodala, who forced yet another Thunder turnover.

The next defensive possession, Iguodala picked off a pass, leading to a Curry floater that sealed the game.

“Andre was great,” head coach Steve Kerr said after Game 6 on Saturday. “Andre made some huge plays down the stretch defensively to give us a chance to win.”

Thompson had the offensive performance of his life, Curry closed the game, but Iguodala just might have saved the Warriors by submitting a defensive performance that has become his trademark over the last two postseasons.

Durant will be criticized for disappearing down the stretch, but that wasn’t a coincidence. Iguodala’s defense smothered and flustered Durant. The reigning NBA Finals MVP has held Durant to 41 percent shooting in the Western Conference Finals — including 22-for-62 over the last two contests, must wins for the Champs.

“Andre is one of the smartest not only basketball players, but he’s an incredibly smart human being,” Kerr said. “He just sees everything kind of before it happens, and he’s blessed with great speed and length and strength. So there’s a reason he’s been one of the best defenders in the league for a long time.”

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By Al Saracevic