Andre Iguodala downplayed his second return to Philadelphia. His actions on the court said otherwise.
Though Iguodala made his initial return last season with the Nuggets, it was obvious how much he wanted to crush the Sixers.
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Iguodala’s new team, the Golden State Warriors, came to the Wells Fargo Center last week and ran over the Sixers with Iguodala leading the way. He scored 32 points, two off his career high, and drained a career-best seven 3-pointers, leading the high-flying Warriors to the victory.
“It’s no secret: You want to kill them,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “You say all the right things beforehand, just in case it doesn’t work out, but your mind-set is to make a statement.”
That he did.
Iguodala was booed in pregame warm-ups, during the announcement of the starting five and throughout the night.
Though Iguodala was highly successful and played eight seasons with the Sixers, he remains one of the most polarizing players in franchise history. Iguodala never quite lived up to the fans’ expectations and his one All-Star Game appearance, and brief success in the playoffs was never enough to capture the heart of this passionate fan base.
“I’m glad he’s on our side,” said Warriors forward David Lee. “He brings everything to the table — scoring, rebounding, passing. He does it all, and he does it all well. He’s been the perfect addition and we’re lucky to have him.”
No one ever questioned Iguodala’s talent. It was always evident.
During one sequence against the Sixers, Iguodala fired a scintillating behind-the-back pass to Lee for a layup. Naturally, the fans booed.
“Stuff like that, when I was here, that was just natural to me,” Iguodala said. “Coach does a really good job of letting guys do what they do. That’s kind of second nature to me.”
Iguodala remains close with several Sixers, especially guard Evan Turner. Before the game, the two players were texting each other.
“He was kind of talking trash,” Iguodala said with a smile about Turner. “He said, 'You’re next.’ He’s the ultimate competitor, no matter who he’s going against. Actually, I wanted to shut him out tonight. I wasn’t even thinking about scoring.”
Iguodala is thinking about the postseason.
“This is my 10th season and it’s hard to win a championship,” Iguodala said. “I’m just excited to be here with the Warriors and I’ll do anything I can to help the franchise.”
“I know it probably means something to him,” said sharpshooting Warriors guard Stephen Curry. “To get the win, too, I’m sure was special for him. He was exactly what we needed. He can play multiple positions and he’s such a great defender. Whatever was in the past is in the past. We’re very, very happy to have him now on our side.”