(REUTERS) – Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been playing through separated ribs, according to multiple reports late on Saturday night (May 18) after his team fell into a 0-3 hole against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Western Conference finals.
Lillard took a spill in the second half of Game 2 while fighting for a loose ball and landed awkwardly on the court, with Warriors big man Kevon Looney landing on top of him. He grimaced and was slow to get up, but continued with his regular allotment of minutes.
ESPN confirmed The Athletic’s original report of the injury, but quoted a source who downplayed its significance, saying, “Not a story, he always plays through injuries.”
Meanwhile, Warriors forward Andre Iguodala will have an MRI scan on Sunday after leaving Saturday’s game due to soreness in his lower left leg, head coach Steve Kerr said.
ESPN reported Iguodala has a sore Achilles, while other reports called it a calf issue. “We didn’t want to risk anything and put him back in the game,” Kerr told reporters of Iguodala, who came out in the third quarter and finished with two points and five rebounds in 18 minutes.
The Warriors rallied to win Game 3 with Iguodala sitting out, taking a 3-0 series lead and moving one win away from a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance.
Draymond Green recorded his seventh career post-season triple-double and Stephen Curry saved 21 of his game-high 36 points for the second half as the Warriors rallied to stun the hosts 110-99. Game 4 is on Monday night in Portland.
It’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen Draymond play,” Kerr gushed to reporters afterwards. “I don’t even know what to say. He’s like a wrecking ball, destroying everything in his path. He played at an incredible pace. He never got tired.”
Lillard, 28, is averaging 20.3 points, 7.3 assists and five rebounds per game in the series, but he is shooting just 15 of 46 (32.9 per cent) from the field and has committed 14 turnovers. He went 5 of 18 from the floor and coughed the ball up five times while scoring 19 points in Saturday’s home loss.
During the regular season, he averaged 25.8 points, 6.9 assists and 4.6 rebounds, while shooting 44.4 per cent from the field and committing 2.7 turnovers per game.
The Warriors have frequently blitzed Lillard with two defenders on pick-and-rolls, forcing the ball out of his hands. “You go up against a wall of defence, sometimes it’s three defenders,” he told reporters after the Game 3 loss.
“It’s tough because you’re not always going to get a quality look, and then when you do get a quality look and don’t make it, that just kind of makes it worse.”
Iguodala, 35, entered Saturday averaging 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game in the post-season, having started all three games of the series. He came up with a critical steal of Lillard to seal Game 2.
Golden State are already without starters Kevin Durant (calf) and DeMarcus Cousins (quad), who are each expected to miss at least another game or two as the team bid for a third straight NBA title.
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