CLEVELAND — As Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue took the stage for his pregame presser before Game 3 of the NBA Finals, a visiting member of the Japanese media asked who would be the key player in tonight’s game.
“Uh, LeBron James?” Lue said.
Close. The key player may very well be whosoever guards James, and that could once again be Andre Iguodala, who was officially declared eligible to play just before Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
The 2015 NBA Finals MVP practiced in full on Tuesday, and went through a full shoot around on Wednesday, as he worked to get back on the court following a bone bruise in his left knee. He suffered that injury against the Houston Rockets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, and has not played in the six games since.
“He’s going to test it out on the court, and I think he’s likely to play, but I don’t have official word yet,” head coach Steve Kerr said before Iguodala tested the knee, and came away comfortable.
In the 2015 Finals, when Iguodala shared the court with James, the Cavs superstar had a net rating of minus-15.5, and was held to a true shooting percentage of 46.4 percent. Once James was on the court without Iguodala, he had a plus-18.8 rating, and a 50.9 percent true shooting percentage.
“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it,” Kerr said during the conference finals. “His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”
Lue said that he would not change any plans in terms of his lineup, depending on whether or not Iguodala would play. The Warriors, with Iguodala out, have been playing match-up basketball at the center spot, starting Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee. McGee did a somewhat effective job against James for six minutes in Game 1 of the Finals, and got the start and held James to 20 points on 10-of-20 shooting in Game 2 in Oakland.
In other injury news, Klay Thompson, who went down with a high ankle sprain in the first quarter of Game 1, but scored 20 points in Game 2, participated in about half of practice on Tuesday and shootaround Wednesday morning, to make sure he’s right for Game 3.
“He kind of picked his spots, but he’s doing fine,” Kerr said.