Last night, Andre Iguodala started his first game of the season.
All series, he has been the most consistent, calmest, most dangerous, and arguably most important player on the court for the Warriors.
He has drawn the seemingly impossible task of guarding LeBron James.
And in this moment, the biggest moment of his year, of his career, he has proved over and over that he is a man above. He is a man on a goddamn mission.
Without Andre's contributions, who knows where the Warriors would be?
It's strange to contemplate Andre Iguodala, Finals MVP— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) June 12, 2015
--- = ---
When Steve Kerr was asked earlier in the day about his starting lineup, he lied. He told the gathered assemblage of reporters and media people that he was not going to shake things up. He told them that Andrew Bogut was going to start.
"When I was asked today, uh, I think Tim Kawakami asked me if Bogut was starting, uh, I lied. [Laughter] No, I did, I mean, I lied, so. I figured, I have two press conferences on the day of the game, so, I'm asked a lot of strategic questions, so, my options were tell the truth—and I was asked both at shoot around and before the game—uh, which, so if I tell the truth it's the equivalent of me knocking on David Blatt's door and saying, 'Hey, this is what we're gonna do.' I could evade the question which would start this, you know [Steve Kerr smirk] twitter...phenomenon... 'Who's gona start for the Warriors?!' or I could lie, so I lied. I don't think they hand you the trophy for, based on morality, they give it to you if you win. So, sorry about that."
Much as in the Memphis series, the Warriors were down two game to one, on the road, against a team that had effectively punched them in the mouth. How they responded, both in that series and last night, speaks volumes about the patience and calm and downright brilliance of Steve Kerr and his staff.
There was no freakout. There was no panic.
At the same time, unlike another coach I could name (ahem, Mark Jackson), there was no blind commitment to those things you've been doing previously just because THAT'S WHAT WE DO!!
Steve Kerr, with his back against the wall, was unafraid to make sweeping, drastic changes based off of smart, rational ideas garnered from film study and meetings with his staff.
Tony Allen is controlling the tempo of the series, screaming "FIRST TEAM ALL DEFENSE" this and that?! Well, turn him into an offensive player. Let Bogut play free safety and force Tony Allen to beat you.
LeBron and co are slowing down the game? Turning it into iso-heaven? Grinding out these maniacally slow, nail-pulling, eyeball popping Eastern Conference affairs? Go small. Go small and run them out of the damn building.
My step father Michael used to tell me (ad nauseum when I was a kid) that, "the definition of insanity is when you try the exact same thing over and over again but expect a different result."
Those are some wise, wise words.
Steve Kerr knows what is at stake. He has won five trophies. That is not mistake. It's not an accident. It's not because he played with Michael Jordan and then with Tim Duncan. He wouldn't have been there for five of 'em if he didn't belong.
So when he makes a sharp turn midstream—when he decides to buck tradition and make drastic changes? It's all for a reason.
And goddamn if those decisions didn't pay off last night.
--- = ---
1.) Andrew Bogut off the bench as a physical disruption is a thing of beauty.
I think Kerr might have told bogut to go in and just wreck hell until he fouls out.— Bram Kincheloe (@BramKincheloe) June 12, 2015
2.) Drayond M-F'ing Green is back, and he's not afriad to let y'all know about it.
3.) If we all needed more proof that Andre is a gentleman and a scholar, last night he was blocked by James Jones and then tried (unsuccesfully) to dap up Jones for the good play. So hilarious.
Alright, that's it for today.
Game five, Sunday. Series tied. Back to Oakland. Let's do this.