Klay Thompson to Play vs. Rockets in Game 5; Andre Iguodala out with Leg Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2018

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors will once again be without Andre Iguodala, though they'll have Klay Thompson on Thursday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets.

The Mercury News' Mark Medina reported Iguodala's left knee bruise will force him to miss a second straight game, while Thompson's left knee strain isn't serious enough to keep him out.

Golden State is coming off a 95-92 loss to the Rockets in Game 4.

It looked like the Warriors were simply a class above the Rockets in the opening game of the conference finals. Houston played well and still lost by 13 points at home. However, the Rockets responded with a 127-105 blowout in Game 2, and their road win Tuesday night showed they have what it takes to go the distance against the reigning champions.

Because of that, Iguodala's injury could loom large in Game 5.

Iguodala's perimeter defense in particular is extremely valuable for Golden State. According to NBA.com, the team has a 99.2 defensive rating in the playoffs with him on the floor, compared to a 102.2 defensive rating when he's on the bench. His 13.6 net rating is best on the team, excluding center Zaza Pachulia, who has played 17 total minutes this postseason.

Game 5 isn't a must-win situation for the Warriors. They still have Game 6 at home Saturday night, and Iguodala should have recovered enough to play Game 7 in Houston—if he doesn't come back before then.

Still, going down 3-2 in the series would leave Golden State one game away from elimination against the West's top seed. It might be the first time the Warriors could feasibly be considered underdogs since their dynasty began.

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