The Warriors dominated the Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals as a return to Oakland seemed to cure whatever was ailing Steph Curry as he dropped 35 points in Golden State’s 41-point win over Houston. The Warriors have a chance to take full control of the series with a win in Game 4, but they’ll have to do so without a key player.
Andre Iguodala hurt his knee in the fourth quarter of the Warriors’ blowout, but being such a lopsided affair, when he checked out nothing seemed amiss given it was a reasonable time to empty the bench anyways. However, Iguodala apparently banged his knee hard late in Game 3 and the contusion worsened overnight, causing him to be listed as “doubtful” officially for Game 4.
As Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes, the likely move by Kerr will be to start Kevon Looney, who has been the first player off the bench in this series, checking in for Iguodala in the first quarter of each of the first three games. Looney has performed well above most people’s expectations, particularly on the defensive end where he has more than held his own when targeted in isolation situations.
In any case, this is a blow to the Warriors as Iguodala is one of their top defensive players and his activity on the offensive end, particularly cutting off the ball, is tough to replace. Nick Young has played a lot of solid minutes for Golden State, but every extra minute he has to play seems like tempting fate for him to have a critical defensive lapse or take more ill-advised shots. It’s less than ideal for the Warriors, but if any team is built to sustain success amid an injury to a starter it’s them.