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NBA Finals 2020

NBA Finals 2020: Adding another chapter to the rivalry between LeBron James and Andre Iguodala

As the main story of the 2020 NBA Finals is the fact that Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James making his ninth Finals appearance in the last 10 years, it can become easy to overlook that each of the last six NBA Finals has featured Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala.

In the history of the NBA, only 10 players have appeared in six or more Finals in a row - James and Iguodala are two of three non-Boston Celtics to have accomplished the feat.

From the above numbers, you might be able to deduce that this will be the fifth time that these two will meet on the NBA Finals stage. For perspective's sake, it's amazing to think that LeBron has seen Iguodala in 50% of his finals trips and Iguodala has seen LeBron in five of six.

To think that Iguodala was one pick away from becoming James' teammate in Cleveland in 2004, the two have formed quite a rivalry over the years, making a number of memories that will forever be etched in NBA history along the way.

Ahead of the latest chapter of their rivalry, take a look back at the history between LeBron James and Andre Iguodala.

2011 - LeBron's first playoff series with the Heat

Because of the epic Finals meetings between James and Iguodala, it's easy to forget that the two first met in the playoffs when the "Big Three" Heat played their first-ever postseason series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Miami opened the series with three straight wins before Philly avoided the sweep with a win in Game 4.

In the closeout Game 5, James finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, giving him averages of 24.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 6.2 assists for the series. Iguodala would finish the series averaging 11.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists.

2015 - Iguodala captures Finals MVP

Four years later, LeBron was back in Cleveland while Iguodala was in his second season as a member of the up-and-coming Golden State Warriors.

After a wild postseason in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, the Warriors and Cavs were set to meet in the 2015 NBA Finals.

The Cavs, who were forced to deal with injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, were forced to rely heavily on James, who led his team to a 2-1 series lead through three games.

Then Iguodala was inserted into the starting lineup.

While James still put up the immaculate stat line of 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists for the series, he did so on .398/.310/.687 shooting splits, partly due to his high usage rate and partly due to the defensive job of Iguodala, who was named Finals MVP after averaging 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the series.

2016 - 3-1 and The Block

Cavs-Warriors II.

With his team at full strength, James was poised to lead the Cavs past the Warriors, who had posted the most successful season in NBA history with 73 wins.

We know how the story goes, as Cleveland became the first team in history to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, delivering the city its first professional sports championship in over 50 years.

Naturally, the most iconic image from this series is James' seemingly-impossible chasedown block on Iguodala.

James was named Finals MVP after finishing the series with averages of 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks while Iguodala made two starts and averaged 9.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

2017 and 2018 - Back-to-back for Iguodala and the Dubs

Following the Cavs win in 2016, the scales tipped in the Warriors' favour when Kevin Durant signed on as a free agent.

From there, Golden State and Cleveland would meet in the 2017 and 2018 Finals, with the Cavs managing to win just one game over the course of the two series.

Iguodala's scoring numbers were far from where they were during the series in which he captured Finals MVP but he still spent time guarding James, who averaged 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists in the 2017 Finals and 34.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 10.0 assists in the 2018 Finals.

Ultimately, Iguodala and his teams captured both titles, which is the most important stat.

2020 - A new chapter

When the Heat acquired Iguodala at the 2020 trade deadline, not many knew there would be a Finals run in store.

Now, Iguodala, who has guarded James more than any other defender since the 2015 Finals (per ESPN Stats & Information) will spend more time looking to slow down James, who finished second in MVP voting in his 17th NBA season.

It's Year 16 for Iguodala, who spoke on the task at hand with The Undefeated, saying "you just got to have that will, understanding you're guarding the top talent ever.

"He's going to make you pay when you make mistakes. You just try to play mistake-free basketball. Put him in vulnerable situations where you feel like you got the advantage, whether it's a shot or a pass or where he is defensively."

The Lakers are in pursuit of their 17th title while the underdog Heat are looking for their fourth title as a franchise, two of which James led them to.

While Iguodala's days of contending for Finals MVP are likely well behind him, he has an opportunity to be a game-changer in making things difficult for James; that alone could swing things in Miami's favour.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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