Warriors

Warriors

OAKLAND -- Andre Iguodala knew he was giving JaVale McGee his NBA championship ring from last season prior to the start of Saturday night's Warriors-Lakers game at Oracle Arena.

What he couldn't have known at that time was that piece of jewelry was not the only thing he'd be giving -- or rather, doing to -- his former Warriors teammate.

Late in the third quarter, Iguodala found a lane with only McGee in front of him. The 15-year NBA veteran displayed zero indecisiveness, going up strong and throwing down a ferocious dunk as McGee -- making a business decision -- stepped to the side.

As Iguodala turned to make his way back up the court on defense, he shot McGee quite a look.

Not one of anger or animosity, though. This was an exchange between friends.

"JaVale and I, we've been teammates on a couple teams," Iguodala said following the Warriors' 115-101 win, "so it's always funny when that happens. I've tried him a few times, never quite got him, so I was just having fun at the time."

The closeness between the former teammates was on display when Iguodala gave McGee his 2017-18 championship ring prior to the opening tip, but not before a little mischief. When McGee first opened the box, there was no ring inside.

 

"That just happened like right there," Iguodala said. "JaVale's like a close friend of mine, like I consider him a brother, family. So, we always play jokes on each other when we're in each other's presence. So, I was just messing with him a little bit."

Those two interactions with McGee were highlights of Iguodala's busy night against the Lakers, but certainly not the extent of them.

Less than a minute before Iguodala's slam over McGee, DeMarcus Cousins posterized Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, escalating the noise in Oracle Arena to a level that probably hasn't been reached at any other point this season. And, naturally, Iguodala played a part.

"I think I'm the reason why [Cousins] got a tech," Iguodala joked, "because I actually grabbed him and was like 'good shot, good job' or whatever, but the ref might have interpreted that as grabbing him and standing over a guy. Gave him a tech, so I don't know."

[RELATED: How Boogie's dunk was key turning point in Warriors' win]

On a night when Stephen Curry didn't make his first field goal until midway through the fourth quarter, Iguodala stepped up and came through for Golden State.

In total, he tallied 17 points, three assists and four rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench in the Warriors' win over the Lakers on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. He also was a game-best plus-23 on the night. 

It was the continuation of -- for whatever reason -- Iguodala's dominance of the Lakers this season. In three games against Los Angeles, Iguodala now has scored 46 total points on 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) shooting from the field.

"I've always tried to play my game based on what's going on with our team, and that was the case, just with the two games [at Oracle]," Iguodala said of his success against the Lakers. "So, it's just a matter of trying to figure out when to put the foot on the gas pedal at certain times, especially when we're vulnerable or when the teams go on a little bit of a run."

As great as Iguodala's performance was against the Lakers on Saturday, it was equally poor in the loss to the 76ers on Thursday, in which he failed to score and finished the game a minus-12. Iguodala's ability to put that substandard outing behind him stood out to Kerr.

 

"Andre has had a tremendous season," Kerr said. "He's been playing like this -- he had a tough game last game against Philadelphia, but when you look at the way he's played over the course of the year, this is not surprising. He's had a brilliant year."

Barring a playoff series -- or an extremely unlikely trade -- the Lakers will only face Iguodala one more time this season, on April 4 in Los Angeles.

Based on how he's played against them in the three games thus far, you can bet that doesn't hurt the Lakers' feelings.

Well, maybe McGee's.