For Cleveland fans, the summer has been spent watching and idolizing three game changing plays that were huge in helping the Cavs win Game 7 of the NBA Finals and the 2016 NBA Championship.
The Block, the Shot, and the Stop will go down as arguably the biggest plays in Cleveland sports history. Kyrie Irving’s shot over Stephen Curry was incredible, Kevin Love’s defense on Curry was tremendous, but LeBron James’ block on Andre Iguodala was something out-of-this-world.
“Believe me, I hear it all the time,” Iguodala told ESPN in an interview.
The play that shook the entire NBA world took place with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Game 7. With the score tied at 89 apiece, both teams struggled to score as they combined to shoot 1-17 in the final 4:39 of the championship-deciding game. Iguodala’s shot was one of nine field goal attempts for the Warriors, and was likely the best chance they had at scoring in the final few minutes. Iguodala spoke about the play, and said that if J.R. Smith was not there, he surely would’ve scored to put the Warriors up two.
“If J.R. is not there, I’m dunking it. Well, I don’t know if I’m dunking, though, because I was about to die out there,” Iguodala said while busting out in laughter. “But I give him all respect. When he blocked it, I thought somebody got shot. I laugh about it all the time. People try to joke on me. I still get mentions all day from fans always talking about the block.
“I’m like, ‘Man, that s— was so dope to me, too.’ I was a fan. That s— was amazing. When he blocked it, I was like, ‘Damn, somebody got shot.’ I thought it was funny. Somebody just made a good play. What you want me to do? If you enjoy the game of basketball, you should just be like, ‘Dude made a great play. F— it.'”
Throughout his career, LeBron James has made a name for himself as an excellent shot-blocker on the fast break. From his earlier days in Cleveland to his days as a member of the Heat, James has made many opponents victims of his chasedown block, and as Iguodala notes, the only way you could avoid it is to dunk the ball.
It was a defining moment in James’ career and will surely go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, defensive play in NBA history. Does Iguodala think he could have done something different to score? Not really. Many Warrior fans haven’t come to grips with the epic play yet, saying that LeBron James goaltended and the shot should have counted. Not Iguodala, however. Instead, the Warriors’ sixth man has drawn some respect for accepting the play and praising James for the play considering the entire situation.
“I looked back at it too, and had I came in from a different angle, I could have [dunked it],” he explained. “But you know who made the play? J.R. made the play. Because I came in thinking dunk and then I took off and he swiped [at the ball] and I had to move the ball. If you look, I moved the ball [to my right]. I just tried to finish the play.
“People don’t realize, somebody just made a great play. There’s nothing to change about somebody making a great play because I even thought I could have went off to the other side [of the rim], but [LeBron] was so high over the rim, he would have had both sides covered. I mean, I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. If somebody just makes a great play, you just give them respect for making a great play.”
Give credit where credit is due. That was one incredible play.