With his heavily-favored squad facing the unfathomable possibility of going down 3-1 in the NBA Finals, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made the ballsy (and wholly unexpected) move of replacing Andrew Bogut in the Dubs’ starting lineup with Andre Iguodala.
This was Iggy’s very first start of the season.
It paid off handsomely—the veteran forward matched teammate Stephen Curry with a team-high 22 points, and helped the Warriors take a must-win Game 4 with a convincing 103-82.
The decision to go super-small made the Warriors a quicker, more confident unit, and the dog-tired Cleveland Cavaliers simply couldn’t keep up.
Game 5 in Oakland promises to be a war.
Per the SF Chronicle:
“The move changed the chessboard,” Kerr said. “I think it was important to get better spacing. We had five guys out there who can run pretty fast, so we got up and down the floor pretty quickly, and that helped us get off to a better start.” […] In an attempt to regain the feverish pace with which they played all season, the Warriors subbed swingman Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup for center Andrew Bogut and pushed the tempo every time they had a chance.
After deciding not to defend Tony Allen in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals — a move that helped erase a 2-1 deficit in Memphis — Thursday’s adjustment in Cleveland might have taken even more gumption. […] The Warriors’ starting lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Bogut was the second-most successful since the NBA began tracking starters in 1970-71. The Warriors went 9-6 without Bogut during the regular season and he played only 2:46 Thursday.
The Warriors also got 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists from Green, 14 points and eight rebounds from Barnes, nine points and five rebounds from David Lee and seven points, eight rebounds and four assists from Shaun Livingston. […] It shows Kerr is “not afraid to take a chance, and obviously, it’s not a blind guess,” Curry said. “He’s obviously invested in our team and a smart coach who is willing to make adjustments to help us be in a better position to win a game.”