The Golden State Warriors are going back to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight season, punching their ticket with a Game 7 win on the road over the Houston Rockets. That they were able to do so, and come back from a 3-2 deficit, was in large part due to the absence of Chris Paul. The Rockets' star point guard injured his hamstring late in Game 5, and was unable to suit up in the final two games, each of which went the Warriors' way.
Understandably, many believe the Rockets would have won the series had CP3 not gone down. Even Eric Gordon said as much following the heartbreaking loss. Paul, though, wasn't the only key player injured in the series. Andre Iguodala missed the final four games after suffering a knee injury in Game 3. And let Warriors head coach Steve Kerr tell it, that was the real injury that swung the series.
According to Kerr, the Warriors would have won in five games if they had their veteran swingman on the floor. Via Reuters:
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had his own take on how injuries impacted the series. Golden State played the final four games of the series without Andre Iguodala, who was the primary defender on Harden in the first three games but was unable to take the court because of a bone bruise in his knee.
"We would have won the series in five if Iggy played," Kerr said.
Of course, if the Warriors won the series in five games, then there wouldn't have even been a Game 6 of 7 for Paul to miss out on. Now, is that true? It's hard to say, obviously, but it's probably fair to say the Warriors would have won Game 4 -- a game they led by 12 points in the fourth quarter -- if they had Iguodala. Also, it seems relevant to note that Iguodala sports the second-best net rating differential of any rotation player on the Warriors during the playoffs. Only Draymond Green's plus-11.2 points differential is better than Iguodala's plus-5.9 points mark.
But this series is now in the past, so there isn't much worth to arguing about it. What is worth noting, though, is that the Warriors will really hope Iguodala is healthy for the Finals.