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Is Andre Iguodala The LeBron James Stopper?

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2015 NBA Finals Game One

We live in a society that is all about stardom, but last year, the NBA Finals brought a bit of fresh air. A year ago, the Finals MVP was not named Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, or LeBron James. Last year’s Finals MVP did not lead the league in scoring, nor the Finals for that matter. He was named MVP for his defense.

After all, the Golden State Warriors were considerably better with Andre Iguodala on the floor. In the 2015 Finals, Golden State outscored Cleveland by 62 points with Iguodala on the court. Iguodala was assigned the toughest assignment: LeBron James.

Coming into game 4, LeBron James torched the Warriors’ defense for outbursts of 44, 39, and 40 points. Then Iggy happened. While LeBron James still scored a lot, except in game 4, he was inefficient with the ball.

While LeBron James needed to be a bit of a ball hog due to Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving’s injuries, he was greatly impaired by Iguodala’s suffocating defense, which limited James to 33 per cent shooting, according to ESPN.com. To put it in perspective, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard “held” James to 58 per cent shooting in the 2014 NBA Finals.

The stats go a step further and show the eye-popping difference between contested and uncontested shots when Iguodala guarded James. Of the 54 shots LeBron James managed to shot while guarded by Iggy, a mere eight were uncontested. James scored on 88 per cent of uncontested shots, as oppose to 24 per cent on contested shots.

What is even more staggering about Iggy’s defense is that none of his teammates came close to replicate what he did in that three game stretch. While he held James to 24 per cent shooting on contested shots, LeBron James shot 41 per cent from the field when anyone else on the Warriors contested his shots.

Iggy’s defense is even more impressive when you consider where James was taking shots. On average, when Iggy contested James’ shots, James was around 11 feet away from the basket, where as on uncontested shots, James was 16.5 feet away from the basket. Iguodala managed to force James outside, a feat that (very) few players have been able to accomplish.

But, skeptics said that while Iggy’s defense was great it was only three games. Some added that he took the world by surprise. So, in this Finals rematch, Head Coach Steve Kerr gave Iggy the same assignment, LeBron James.

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The 2016 NBA Finals began and LeBron James saw a familiar face run his way to guard him, and it was on.

Through four games into these NBA Finals, Iguodala held LeBron James to 43.3 per cent from the field, according to the New York Times. But, when Iggy was off, James connected on 66.7 per cent of his shots.

Iguodala’s presence on the court is more than just defense, it is the importance he has to the success of the Warriors. Again, through the first four games of these NBA Finals, the Cavaliers had outscored Golden State by an average of 7.8 points with Iggy on the bench. However, when Iggy was on the court, Golden State outscored Cleveland by 12 points per game.

An article on ESPN shows that through the first two games of the NBA Finals, the Warriors outscored the Cavaliers by 41 points with Iguodala on the court, while Cleveland outscored Golden State by 12 with him on the bench.

However, since game 4, there has been a game 5 and 6, in which Cleveland has outclassed Golden State. Two games where LeBron James recorded back-to-back 40+ points game, joining Jerry West, Rick Barry, Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal as the only players to accomplish the feat in NBA history.

Except for the two lopsided blowout losses in games 1 and 2, James’ shooting percentage has not changed much. Since game 3, it has been in the fifties (.538, .524, .533, and .593). There was a spike in game 6, which coincided with Iggy hurting his back and looking unable to compete against a healthy LeBron James.

So, in the last few hours prior to the epic conclusion of the weirdest series in sports history, the troublesome question facing the Golden State Warriors is: can a 12-year veteran who has started only one game in the past two seasons come back from a back injury to stop The King?

If that were to happen, would Iguodala win back-to-back Finals MVP?

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NBA

Dame Time Forever. What Are Those New Adidas ‘Black Panther’s’?

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IMG 20190426 080921
A Nation Under Our Sneakers...

Adidas are in the Endgame now.

Before we get started, Havlicek would have stole that ball. Just saying Paul George. Stop acting like Paul Pierce. It wasn’t a “bad shot”. And R.I.P. to a Boston Celtic and storied NBA great. Dear John will be stealing every ball in hoop heaven. Rest peacefully.

Like a cat toying with a mouse. That’s how we described Lillard’s Dame Time winning clutch three from Mt. Hood as Portland gave Oklahoma City roses in the first round this week. Damian had more clock than grandfather’s and still took his time. Because it is his after all.

And now as timely as ever in the same week as one of the greatest playoff game and series winning shots in basketball for all time and one of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood history coming out with ‘Avengers: Endgame’, this cat is building a superhero legendary legacy.

You better check a comic-book or something.

T’Challa may have been Thanos snapped to cat litter in the Avengers ‘Infinity War’, but the King of Wakanda has a regal gift by royal appointment to Damian Lillard like he did Victor Oladipo in a victorious Slam Dunk Contest for testament tributes last season.

The cat has something out the bag.

IMG 20190426 094544
The pick of the litter…

Now you may be screaming “what are those” like Shuri at these royal sandals, but try these sneakers on. They embody everything about the next gen, nano tech Black Panther suit she developed for this emperor’s clothes. All the way down to the texture and trim which straps “Wakanda Forever” over the laces. The titan mad purple that runs like veins through Chadwick Boseman’s superhero suit absorbs all the blows he takes and turns it into a recharged deflecting energy pulse. Kind of like all the rock the baby and wrist tapping crap Damian Lillard was taking off Russell Westbrook before he absorbed it all and gave it back in a half century energy that exploded with a game winning fireball.

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Never delete that footage.

Marvel have also gifted Dame with his own Black Panther mask like Oladipo, but this time canvas created from his super sneakers. Part of the ‘Heroes Among Us’ series from the three stripes, a comic-strip advertising campaign has been crafted. Featuring Lillard standing in front of the downtown RIP City, PDX skyline looking Wakandan in artwork akin to the ‘Nation Under Our Feet’ graphic novel redux series that rebooted this classic character before his feature film debut.

Damian may have played Killmonger villain to the Oklahoma Thunder, going G.O.A.T. like Michael Jordan B. But he’s a hero to us now blazing a trail like a human torch possessed with a fire and the heart of a lion inside all that panther power.

The Dame 5 will assemble with the arc of the bolted up ‘Iron Man’ Harden Vol. 3 for James and the patch of the ‘Nick Fury’ TMac 1 for Tracy McGrady. As well as the ‘Captain America’ Adidas N3XT L3V3L, and a ‘Captain Marvel’ Adidas Pro Vision for all those who could take the lead all day, with us ’till the end of the line. HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER.

But we know which ones will be clawed off the stores shelf throne come it’s big blockbuster release with ‘Endgame’ right now.

It’s a drip fit for a King.

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NBA

RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX

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RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX
What Time Is It...

Blazing!

Even two games down the Thunder bolt boys joked like the last laugh that was yet to be delivered, like this what’s the 4-1 punchline. Zero to zero for the best series of these NBA Playoffs so far, Russell Westbrook rocked the baby at Damian Lillard, before mocking his wrist watch celebration like he did Laker meme Lance Stephenson’s air guitar strumming one with D’Angelo Russell ice in his veins. All before Paul George double pumped a dunk as time expired on a game that was already decided way before the horn blared.

“It is the unemotional, reserved, calm, detached warrior who wins, not the hothead seeking vengeance and not the ambitious seeker of fortune.”

But then last night before posting that Sun Tzu quote on Instagram in this art of war. In the face of P.G. the PDX P.G. beat the buzzer as Dame Time struck from way downtown RIP City. With an Austin 3:16 bottom line to give OKC the history engraved tombstone and the Portland Trail Blazers a legendary storied, legacy making championship belt for this classic series in hardwood history.

Reminding us of that time Charles Barkley responded to a Nike barbershop ad featuring former Golden State Warriors Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell joking about dunking on him by putting all the points on them in the following game and running past them on the bench draped in dejected towels shouting, “put that in a f###### commercial!”

Colder than February. More ruthless than a convertible in Summer.

Damian Lillard 37 Footer Over Paul George
Damian Lillard buries series clinching 37-footer over Paul George – Photo Blazers

37 feet high and rising from deep. Deep as the halfcourt abyss. With the this time of season cherry blossoms blooming outside Portlandia’s Moda Center, the City of Roses was handing everyone from basketballs Oklahoma home funeral flowers. And leading the precession, hearse wrapping it up like his killer bars, Dame D.O.L.L.A was right on the money like exact change only please, waving goodbye. Even if Paul George walking off in defeat like LeBron James and getting his Vlade Divac on in a press conference more awkward than a blind date with an ex called it a “bad shot”. To which the great Dame simply replied with a tweeted “lol” (see also, laugh and last). He better Big Shot Bobby Horry check a newspaper or something. Dame Time didn’t just beat the buzzer. He took baby powder to it. As Dame had all the Louis Armstrong time in the world with ten on the clock and the last shot in this final frame to dribble drive or dish. But instead, toying with George like a cat does a mouse, as David beat Goliath like Jerry did Tom, Lillard had the sand to set up shop, his spot and his shot from what looked like a bunker. A hole in one, with the cocksure confidence of Tiger Woods putting for Masters glory in Augusta and embracing his kids, two decades after doing the same with his pops all for the green jacket.

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From this master, like a tap in putt with no Mulligan to carry, this was always going in. Nothing but net. All water like those Thunder tears. O.K. now that was a 3.

And to think I swore I wouldn’t go back on social media until after the new Avengers movie came out, but DAMN Dame Time! Spoiler alert, this is the new ‘Endgame’ now.

Cousy. Pettit. Sam Jones. Wilt. Chuck Barkley. M.J. And now the Dame train as the legendary Lillard goes hard to join this lineage as the only players to hit 50 in a playoff clinching game. And what a way to do it, fading away to clock out of the game and series 118-115 for the greatest Portland playoff moment since the G.O.A.T’s shrug. As mobbed by teammates on the floor he sank into, telling Russ to ‘Get Out’ his house. Peeling off like Jordan, Damian all on his own like a devil, GIF turned into an instant meme, as he turned the Thunder into a memory (you know the one were everyone loses their mind around that smirking kid with glasses in the raincoat? Well now guess which superheroes face is super imposed?). Staring into the camera with that look you know was for Russell Westbrook.

Blazers Win Damian Lillard Buries 37 Footer
Blazers Win. – Photo: Portland Trail Blazers

What a whole mood.

Whose left holding the baby now?

Dame didn’t even have to check his watch. Why? Him, her, them. They all knew what time it was. His. As Dame Lillard just did it in the Oregon home of Nike. Shoe dog like Phil Knight, running off victory for the courtside crowd, including legendary comedian Cedric the Entertainer for this last laugh lap. As this Gladiator hit one of the best and biggest shot fired in NBA history. Subliminal and literal.

Are you not entertained?

Why not?

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