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Golden State Warriors: Andre Iguodala ruled out due to knee

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney (5) and Houston Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute (12) battle for a loose ball at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on October 17, 2017. Looney will likely start in place of the injured Andre Iguodala. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

OAKLAND — The Golden State Warriors have officially ruled that forward Andre Iguodala will not play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets.

“If it was close, he would play,” said head coach Steve Kerr. “We’ll see what happens in a couple days.”

Iguodala — diagnosed with a left lateral leg contusion — had been upgraded from doubtful to questionable this morning, after tests showed no structural damage to his left knee. Iguodala had  banged the troublesome knee against the right knee of James Harden in the middle of the fourth quarter of Game 3.

Iguodala has been integral to Golden State’s defense this postseason, with the team having a 99.2 defensive rating with him on the floor — the same as Draymond Green. By putting Iguodala on the ball instead of Kevin Durant in Game 3, the Warriors were able to stack their two best defenders — Iguodala and Green — and held Harden to a series-low 20 points.

“He’s important to them,” said Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni. “Now, they only have four All-Stars instead of five, so that really put a crimp in their style. He’s a big part of what they do, and they have others who can pick up the slack, but it’s unfortunate for him. I’m not too worried about them and how they’ll respond.”

This will be the first time since Game 1 against the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference Semifinals that the Warriors will not start the Hamptons Five lineup, which includes Iguodala.

Golden State, however, has a very good backup plan in Kevon Looney. While Looney doesn’t bring Iguodala’s offensive game — Iguodala is averaging 7.9 points and 3.1 assists, while Looney is averaging 4.6 points and 1.1 assists in the playoffs  — he is more than capable defensively.

Iguodala is averaging 4.9 rebounds in the postseason, and Looney — in far fewer minutes — is averaging 4.8. This series, the Warriors have an 88.4 defensive rating with Looney on the floor, and in the playoffs overall, 96.9 — both better than Iguodala’s numbers (112.0 this series, and 99.2 this postseason).

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