A strip by Andre Iguodala on Damian Lillard’s potential game-tying three-point attempt with 4.1 seconds left secured the Golden State Warriors’ 114-111 thrilling victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals.
“We stole that game,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought they outplayed us for much of the night, the majority of the night. But we brought enough competitive fire in the second half to overcome their great play.”
The scoring from Stephen Curry (37 points) and Klay Thompson (24 points) was the key reason the Warriors opened a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series at Oracle Arena before 19,596 fans.
The all-around brilliance of Draymond Green’s 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks despite finishing the game with five fouls was another key for the Warriors, who head to Portland for the next two games in good shape.
The steely nerves of the Warriors to stand strong when they were down eight points with 4 minutes, 28 seconds showed their championship pedigree.
They outscored the Trail Blazers 14-3 the rest of the way.
“They are a championship club,” Lillard, who had 23 points on six-for-16 shooting, said. “Down the stretch, they are going to make those plays and they are going to give themselves a chance. It came down to the last possession.”
Down 114-111, Portland called a timeout to set up play for Lillard. He was immediately fouled by Thompson after getting the ball.
The Trail Blazers didn’t have another timeout, so Lillard knew a three-pointer was needed to send the game into overtime.
But with Iguodala all over him, Lillard never got the 29-foot shot off.
The official score sheet said he had missed a three-point attempt, his seventh three-point miss in 12 attempts.
“He grabbed my hand a little bit,” Lillard said. “I regained it and I was going to shoot it again. He got his hand on the ball. For me as the offensive player, I felt like it was contact. There was a lot of contact. But obviously the ref is not going to decide the game or jump in at that point. …Good defensive play.”
After getting the ball with 3.6 seconds left, Iguodala passed the ball to Curry, who threw the ball high into the air towards Golden State’s basket to let the last few precious seconds run out.
Iguodala took off running towards Golden State’s bench, stopping by his teammates and finally embracing a smiling Curry.
“Well, you look at the time and situation, up three,” Iguodala said. “So the one thing that you don’t want to do is give up a three. You actually can take risks outside the three-point line and be extra aggressive.
“The key is not to give that up. If the guy drives by you, then you still have the lead. When you look at it that way, it wasn’t that good of a play.”
The Warriors will have to push forward without Kevin Durant (strained right calf) even more after he was ruled out of the games at Portland. Durant had missed the first two games in this series after suffering the injury in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Houston Rockets in the semifinals.
“Obviously we’re a much better team with him on the floor, and that’s on both sides of the ball,” Green said.
“But right now we’re a very confident group and you have everybody stepping up and giving great minutes and that’s what it’s all about.”