Andre Iguodala played 17 minutes, 23 seconds Tuesday night at Oracle Arena and produced two points, two assists and zero rebounds. But his presence upon returning from injury made all the difference for the Warriors. A team that had been chided by its head coach for a lack of passion, effort and energy only two nights earlier, looked as if nothing was missing with its fill-in-the-blanks man back in the lineup. The Warriors breezed to a 104-93 victory over New Orleans. "He's a guy who makes life so much easier for everybody on the floor, because of his ability to make plays and his ability to read and react," head coach Mark Jackson said. "Then, there was a carry-over effect. Other guys began to read and react and make plays. ... "He's a special player. The things he does on the floor that don't show up on the stat sheet are things we missed." The Warriors (14-12) did not trail and led by as many as 26 points after going through an excruciating stretch without Iguodala. He strained his left hamstring in the third quarter of a game in Los Angeles against the Lakers on Nov. 22 and missed 24 days and 12 games as the Warriors went from 8-5 to 13-12. Without their do-it-all swingman in the lineup, the Warriors went from allowing 96.1 points per game to giving up 105.3. Their three-point defense was startlingly worse, and their ball movement and ball security on offense lapsed. "When you're watching, you get a new appreciation for the game - especially when you see your brothers struggling," Iguodala said. "It was great to get a win and to put together a string of good basketball." After Iguodala went through Monday's practice and Tuesday's shootaround, he got the go-ahead to return. He said he's not 100 percent and is still protecting his injury, but he thinks he can be effective for 25-30 minutes a night. He needed even less playing time to seemingly immediately fix all of the Warriors' ills. The Warriors limited New Orleans (11-12) to 39 first-half points and 37.5 percent shooting for the game. They committed only 12 turnovers and regained enough ball movement to dish out 25 assists on 41 field goals.
Warriors dust Pelicans in Andre Iguodala's return, 104-93
San Francisco Chronicle | Dec 18