Warriors

Spoelstra: Dubs might miss Iguodala 'equally as much' as Klay

Warriors
Andre Iguodala vs. Warriors

The Warriors have played without a sizable chunk of their championship core for the better part of two seasons now.

Klay Thompson has missed 113 games after sustaining a torn ACL and torn Achilles within 18 months of one another. Kevin Durant's a Brooklyn Net. Shaun Livingston is in Golden State's front office. And Andre Iguodala is providing steady, veteran leadership in another uniform.

Iguodala scored 10 points, grabbed six rebounds, dished out two assists and blocked a shot as his former teammates labored in a 116-109 loss to the Miami Heat. The 37-year-old took particular joy knocking down a dagger 3-pointer in Steph Curry's face with fewer than five minutes remaining.

The Warriors miss Thompson's shooting and Durant's, well, everything, particularly as Curry's greatness isn't enough to carry Golden State to a winning record. They also miss Livingston's length on defense, and his play-making on offense.

Ask Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, and the Warriors might miss Iguodala most of all.

"I'm sure they're definitely missing Klay, but I think you can make an argument they miss Andre equally as much," Spoelstra said Thursday in his postgame video conference. "He does so many things that help you win. We're the beneficiary of that. I think that's a big part of why were able to have success in the playoffs last year. He shows up in big moments, does all the little things."

 

The Warriors were a playoff team before Iguodala arrived via sign-and-trade in 2013, but joining Golden State -- and moving to the bench in Steve Kerr's first season in 2014-15 -- enabled the Warriors to reach dynastic heights. He was the 2015 NBA Finals MVP, and a key cog in Golden State's "Death Lineup" during five straight trips to the Finals.

Iguodala's playing a smaller role with the Heat than he even did with the Warriors, entering Thursday averaging fewer minutes per game with Miami (20.8) than with any of the three franchises he has played for in his career.

He was shooting a career-low 37.6 percent from the field ahead of Thursday's game, but Iguodala continued to bring it on defense: The veteran's 1.5 defensive win shares entering the day were fourth only to Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler and Duncan Robinson among current Heat players, according to Basketball-Reference.

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Despite their recent downturn, the Warriors have had a top-10 defense this season. The Heat, with Iguodala, are in the top five.

Neither team has been particularly good on offense, but Miami has a winning record (25-24) while Golden State (23-25). It'd be too simplistic to say Iguodala has been the difference, but the Warriors were nonetheless reminded just how much they miss him in Thursday's loss.

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