Steve Kerr wasn’t honest about his lineup change – starting Andre Iguodala in place of Andrew Bogut – but the fact of the matter is, it worked. Very, very well.
Iguodala scored a team-high 22 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 103-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
Will we see the same starting lineup for the Warriors in Game 5, or will Kerr mix it up again to keep the Cavaliers off balance?
“I think it’s going to be the same starting lineup,” KNBR Warriors reporter Joe Hughes said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It was pretty effective for them. They needed to find a way to slow LeBron James down from the get go. He was getting off to such incredible starts and whenever he was on Harrison Barnes, he was just thinking ‘Feast.’ Every time he was on Harrison Barnes, this is an easy two points, and it let the Cavs dictate the terms early. I know they got off to a 7-0 run to start the game, but the Warriors weren’t able to match that pace and they were letting the Cavs kind of suck them into it. Having Andre Iguodala out there to start the game, it’s another guy who you can put the ball in his hands. Let (Stephen) Curry play off the ball, let Klay (Thompson) play off the ball and just give them a lot more movement in the offense. And so, I think that’s going to be the lineup we see and David Lee is going to continue to get good minutes off the bench.”
Iguodala started 62+ games in each of his first 10 NBA seasons before Kerr told him he would come off the bench this year. Lee, meanwhile, started 67+ games in five of the last six seasons, but started just four in 2014-15.
“With Iguodala, (Kerr) definitely came to him and he told him before the season that no matter what, he was going to get a lot more rest this year,” Hughes said. “There was going to be games that he took off. It was going to be a lot like what we saw with the Spurs when they give rest to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker. But for David Lee, Steve Kerr obviously had conversations with him, but David Lee got hurt early in the year, Draymond Green got inserted into the lineup and the Warriors went on an incredible winning streak. So it became a matter of the production that he was getting out of the starting lineup from Draymond Green. So it was a lot easier to convince David Lee. I mean, when you’re on a winning streak like that, it’s a lot easier to go to a guy and be like, ‘You know what? We’re going to stick with this because it’s working.’ And it really is the Warriors’ best lineup with Draymond Green staring for them rather than having David Lee in there.”
Lee averaged 7.9 points during the regular season but has really come on strong in each of the last two games. After not playing a single minute in Games 1 and 2, Lee had 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 28 minutes in Games 3 and 4.
“This was a little bit of an up-and-down year for David Lee,” Hughes said. “He never really found his role comfortably in the offense after that and became kind of a secondary figure. But what he’s done for this team the last two games – everybody loves David Lee out here.”