Iguodala to shrug off doubts for showdown

OAKLAND • Golden State forward Andre Iguodala, last year's National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals' Most Valuable Player, missed practice on Saturday for back treatment but vowed he will play in today's (Singapore time) championship-deciding game.

"In this situation, you make a way, I don't care what it is," he said. "I don't think anyone is 100 per cent."

The defending champions Warriors will host the Cleveland Cavaliers with the best-of-seven NBA Finals series deadlocked at 3-3.

"You understand you're going to have some bumps and bruises," Iguodala said. "You don't want to use it as an excuse so you tell yourself you're fine. You go all out to do what it takes to help your team win."

The Warriors forward, whose defensive work against Cleveland star LeBron James was a major factor in last year's Finals, struggled with back pain late in Game 6, when James scored 41 points for the second consecutive game.

"You just will yourself to do it," Iguodala said. "Still made a couple of plays. A few things I couldn't quite do, but I felt like there was a way around it.

"You just couldn't take off as well as you would like, as far as sprinting up the floor goes. Going up for rebounds was really tough. I was in position to get a few, but had to wait until it came to you.

"You do other things to combat that as far as boxing out and getting good ball positions so you don't have to put yourself in a vulnerable situation."

The NBA changed the Finals schedule this year, adding rest days after travel days. While that means this year's Finals will match the longest ever in lasting 18 days, it helps keep players at a high level.

"Extra time and things like that always help," Iguodala said. "I've been getting treatment around the clock. The training staff have been doing a hell of a job, just making sure I'm good.

"(The back pain) kind of just popped up. A long flight (to Cleveland) and (unfamiliar) bed and just fatigue and a lot of minutes lately. It's just a perfect storm."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he will decide on game day whether or not to limit Iguodala's minutes.

"We'll see how he's feeling," Kerr said. "But it's Game 7 and he's Andre Iguodala, so we know he'll be out there."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2016, with the headline 'Iguodala to shrug off doubts for showdown'. Print Edition | Subscribe