Damian Lillard felt “a lot of contact” when Andre Iguodala stripped the ball out of his hands with Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals on the line Thursday night.
Lillard says he understands that referees weren’t going to step in and determine the outcome at that point, and credited the veteran forward for a great defensive play.
Iggy told reporters he took a calculated risk going for the steal on Dame—who finished with 23 points (on 6-of-16 shooting) and 10 assists—and helped give the Golden State Warriors a 2-0 series lead with a dramatic 114-111 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers.
Per NBC Sports Northwest:
“You know, I got the ball,” Lillard said. “I think they knew we needed a three. I think it was under 10 seconds by the time I got a catch, and a quick two – we didn’t have any timeouts left. I don’t think that would have done much for us.
“We knew we were going to go for the three, so I was just trying to get space to get a three up. I know it’s a tough position for the referees to be in to make a call at that point of the game. I tried to get a little bit of space the first time and he grabbed my arm and I lost the ball a little bit. I regained it and I was going to shoot it again.
“But 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. You know, so they – good defensive play.”
Iguodala explained his side of the play:
“Well, you look at the time and situation, up three, 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. I just take odds on what you want to do and if the odds are in your favor, then for something like that to happen outside the three-point line.”
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