OAKLAND – Though Andre Iguodala’s numbers rarely impress, he has a way of coming off the bench and sprinkling himself over a game to accentuate any work the Warriors might be doing.
That seems particularly true when the Warriors are doing good work, as they did in their Game 6 victory over Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals.
Which is why Iguodala – who in a very unusual move by coach Steve Kerr started the second half of Game 6 – could be in the starting lineup for Game 7 Monday night at Oracle Arena.
Could be, that is.
“We just felt like it made sense, given the circumstances,” Kerr said Sunday of the Game 6 adjustment. “I don’t anticipate doing it to start (Game 7).
“But we’re going to meet as a staff here in a few minutes and we’ll talk about all those things.”
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A change to Iguodala’s role is worth considering as the Warriors try to accomplish the rare feat of overcoming a 3-1 postseason deficit.
“I don’t know,” Kerr said, noting that though he decided to start Iguodala the last three games of the 2015 NBA Finals, he can’t recall making such a switch at halftime.
It worked, as the Warriors outscored the Thunder 60-48 in the second half. Iguodala, who replaced Harrison Barnes, played 21 minutes after halftime and was plus-9 in the plus/minus column.
Iguodala’s value always seems to rise in the playoffs. Though he made only three starts in the Finals, an adjustment made with the goal of containing Cavaliers star LeBron James, it was enough for Iguodala to secure the MVP trophy.
There is no individual trophy at stake in the conference finals, but Iguodala still has the crucial job. The veteran forward’s assignment is to defend Thunder star Kevin Durant.
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“The job is difficult, but he’s made for it,” Kerr said. “He reminds me so much of (former Chicago Bulls teammate) Scottie Pippen. His body type, his intelligence, his ability to read what’s happening at both ends, but particularly on defense, the instinct is there. He knows that’s going to be his job and he’s always up to the task.
“I don’t think it can be that fun. Honestly, it can’t be that fun to chase these guys around the try to stop them. But he does as good a job as anybody.”
With Iguodala as the primary defender, Durant is shooting 40.9 percent overall and 25.7 percent from beyond the arc. Those numbers have dipped to 34.9 and 20.8 over the last three games.
Maybe a more accurate way to measure Iguodala’s impact is to ignore his numbers and take a good look at those of the player he is assigned to defend.