UPDATE: Andre Iguodala to reportedly play for Warriors in Game 3 vs. Cavs
Golden State wing Andre Iguodala will make his return tonight in Game 3 of The Finals against Cleveland, league sources tell ESPN. He’s missed the past six games with a knee injury.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 6, 2018
CLEVELAND — Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said there’s a “good chance” that Andre Iguodala will play in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals on Wednesday night, after missing the last six games of the Warriors’ postseason run with a bone bruise in his left knee.
“Andre practiced yesterday and today, and he’ll warm up before the game. He’ll be a game-time decision,” Kerr told reporters during the Warriors’ afternoon shootaround. “I think there’s a good chance he’ll play.”
As the Warriors opened their shootaround session at Quicken Loans Arena to the media, Iguodala could be seen getting up shots with a large wrap on his left knee and calf:
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) June 6, 2018
With the caveat that “we don’t do much at this point in the season,” Kerr confirmed that Iguodala — who’s averaging 7.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 27.5 minutes per game this postseason — had been able to do everything the Warriors asked of him in practice and shootaround on Tuesday and Wednesday. Having hit those benchmarks, Kerr said that Iguodala is preparing for Game 3 with the intention of making his first appearance in live action in 2 1/2 weeks.
“I don’t know how many minutes he’ll be able to play, but he’s been feeling pretty good the last two days,” Kerr said. “He made a lot of improvement from where he was, so it’s all leaning in the right direction.”
Chris Haynes of ESPN reported Monday, after the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, that Iguodala hadn’t “experienced any pain over the last few days,” following two weeks of rest and rehabilitation after colliding with James Harden during the fourth quarter of Game 3 of Golden State’s Western Conference finals series against the Houston Rockets. Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports had previously reported that Iguodala “aims to return when this series shifts to Cleveland.”
The star-studded Warriors haven’t exactly struggled in Iguodala’s absence, winning a spirited series against the Rockets and storming out to a 2-0 lead in the Finals by holding serve at Oracle Arena. But while Golden State has remained afloat thanks largely to the excellence of All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Kerr and company are eager to welcome Iguodala — a vital part of the team’s unselfish, versatile identity on both ends of the floor — back into the fold.
“Andre helps us in every regard,” Kerr said. “He’s one of the smartest players in the league. He handles the ball for us a lot on offense, he’s a great decision-maker. And then he’s an excellent defender, too. So it can only help us.”
That would seem especially true in a game during which Golden State expects to receive a ferocious shot from a Cavaliers team desperate to avoid falling into an 0-3 hole that would put them on the brink of elimination at the Warriors’ hands for the third time in four years. This close to another championship, the last thing Golden State needs is to become frayed or fractured by the kind of force they anticipate from James; having the 2015 NBA Finals MVP’s steadying influence back on the court would be a welcome addition in what can be a raucous environment.
“He kind of settles us down a little bit,” Durant told reporters at Golden State’s Tuesday practice. “You look at ‘Dre, he has an even keel for the game. Somebody that’s just always dependable.”
“He’s such a high-IQ type of guy that he’ll most likely find himself in the right place at the right time and help our rotation get back to what we’re consistently used to,” added Curry.
Iguodala declined to make any declarative statements as he left the court on Wednesday afternoon, but did offer a smile and some sarcasm …
Andre Iguodala walked off the floor and said he feels “terrible.” He was smiling and being coy when he said it. Will he play tonight? Iguodala: “I don’t know.”
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) June 6, 2018
… that sure seemed like good news for Warriors fans in the hours before Game 3.
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