Golden State Warriors swingman Andre Iguodala scored eight points and recorded a key thundering dunk down the stretch Wednesday night in his winning NBA Finals debut in Game 3 after missing six games with a bone bruise around his left knee.
The 2015 Finals MVP went to the locker room with less than a minute left in the the first half and was diagnosed with a right leg contusion, according to the Warriors. But he returned to play late in the third quarter and finished with two rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes. The team said after the game that he's OK.
"Andre helps us in every regard,'' Golden State coach Steve Kerr said before the game. "He's one of the smartest players in the league.''
Iguodala has averaged 11.4 points in 18 previous Finals games -- including a 20-point showing for Golden State in last year's title clincher against Cleveland.
He had previously been starting for Golden State in these playoffs, part of what is known as the Warriors' "Hamptons 5'' lineup in a nod to the four players who went on the recruiting trip to lure Kevin Durant to their team two summers ago.
Iguodala is averaging 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in this postseason.
"We talk about his versatility all the time,'' Warriors guard Stephen Curry said prior to Game 3. "We talk about the ways that he can fill holes defensively and offensively for us, especially against teams that we have such familiarity with. He's such a high IQ type of guy that he'll most likely find himself in the right place at the right time and help our rotation get back to what we're consistently used to.
"Just for him, just as a person, to be healthy and be able to play in the Finals now that we're here, I think that would mean a lot to him and give us an emotional boost, as well.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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