Splash Bros. go on three spree, but Iggy hobbled in rout of Trail Blazers

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After the Golden State Warriors marched along, Andre Iguodala limped away, using an umbrella as a cane to ease the burden on his sprained left ankle as he departed Oracle Arena, the building where the Warriors have won 47 consecutive games.

The Warriors are calling him questionable for Saturday night's home game against the Phoenix Suns, but Iguodala sounded as if he knew what would happen next -- and it wouldn't be conducive to playing.

"It's going to swell up," Iguodala said. "A couple of days. [Then] hopefully, right back. But who knows?"

And you can take another cue from Warriors coach Steve Kerr's recent history of sitting Iguodala for three of four games after Iguodala strained his hamstring.

"That was a no-brainer for us," Kerr said. "He could have played, but he didn't."

It doesn't sound as if Iguodala will fight back against any recommendations by the coaching or medical staffs. He just sounded remorseful about the disruption.

"I was in a good groove," Iguodala said.

He had noticed in morning shootaround that he felt like his old self, recovered from the strained hamstring, rebounding from the normal fatigue of the lengthy NBA season.

"OK, there it is," he told himself. The bounce was back. He moved without thinking through every step. He saw everything on the court clearly.

He played an efficient 15 minutes against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, keeping the flames lit after Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry ignited for a combined 71 points in a 128-112 victory. Iguodala had 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Golden State's lead went from nine points to 21 points after he checked in midway through the first quarter, and he was on the floor when the lead swelled to 32 points in the third quarter.

But then, with two minutes left in the third, he and Portland's Damian Lillard pursued a loose ball, and Lillard wound up undercutting Iguodala and rolling over his ankle.

"He got it good," Iguodala said.

Iguodala stuck around to shoot the free throws, then the Warriors fouled to stop the clock and he hobbled to the locker room. His absence was notable at the start of the fourth quarter, when the Blazers scored 10 consecutive points during what would have normally been Iguodala's turn to be the floor general.

"It's definitely a miss when he's not out there with the second group," Brandon Rush said.

"He defends, he pushes the ball, he makes plays, and he stays aggressive the whole time. That's what we need on the second unit."

This week two NBA executives told me how important they think Iguodala is to the Warriors, maybe even more than Thompson and Draymond Green. It gave some validity to the sometimes-criticized selection of Iguodala as the NBA Finals MVP.

Iguodala did miss the game against the Lakers on Sunday, which was only the second Warriors loss since Jan. 16. The other was to the Trail Blazers, by 32 points on Feb. 19, and that surely had the Warriors' attention Friday night. So did a video session Thursday afternoon.

One point of emphasis was turnovers, perhaps the Warriors' weak spot, and they cut them down to eight Friday.

"A bunch of nit-picking," Green said of the video session. "But much-needed nit-picking. Because if we want to go where we envision us going and accomplish the thing that we want to accomplish, the things we were nit-picking needed to be nitpicked."

Usually Igoudala is the chief nitpicker. He even found himself nit-picking while watching the rest of the game on TV from the locker room. That's one thing the Warriors might have to go without again for the short term, in addition to his defensive versatility. This might even be a helpful, if unwanted, learning period.

"I think it'll be good for them to try to emulate what our second unit does when I'm not out there," Iguodala said. "We've got to get to that point. Sometimes when I'm not out there with the second unit, we might struggle a little bit or we might get a little selfish. It'll be a good test for us."

The Warriors sound eager to ramp up to playoff readiness. Curry and Thompson, who hit 15 3-pointers between them, sure looked prepared to unleash destruction on the league. But Harrison Barnes is still in a shooting slump (7-for-28 his past four games) and the defense isn't airtight. It's a reminder that this Warriors season, which still could reach an altitude unprecedented in NBA history, hasn't been one smooth continuous takeoff down the runway.

"I'm trying to get to where we're peaking and everyone's on the same page and we don't have to talk to each other because we know each other's movement," Iguodala said.

First Iguodala has to get back to moving smoothly. He also needs to upgrade his cane game, perhaps even a silver scepter like Prince had when he took in a Warriors game and performed a concert at Oracle Arena the next day.

"It had diamonds in it!" Iguodala marveled.

That's the type of thing that gets Iguodala excited. Not a 58-6 record. That merely constitutes a work in progress, a task that will be a bit tougher without him on the court.