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Old 09-26-2018, 04:36 AM   #1
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Andre Iguodala Randy Gregory Jersey , welcome back to the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors cleared Andre Iguodala to play in Game 3 of the title series against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night, following a six-game absence to deal with a bone bruise around his left knee.

Iguodala hadn’t played since Game 3 of the Western Conference finals against Houston, and the Warriors went 4-2 in his absence.

”Andre helps us in every regard,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. ”He’s one of the smartest players in the league.”

Iguodala’s return figures to be another big boost for the Warriors, who lead the Cavaliers 2-0 in this series and now get the 2015 NBA Finals MVP back into their rotation.

Iguodala has averaged 11.4 points in 18 past finals games – including a 20-point showing for Golden State in last year’s title clincher against the Cavaliers. He had been starting for Golden State in these playoffs, part of what is known as the Warriors’ ”Hamptons 5” lineup in a nod to the four players who went on the recruiting trip to lure Kevin Durant to their team two summers ago.

Iguodala is averaging 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in this postseason.

”We talk about his versatility all the time,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. ”We talk about the ways that he can fill holes defensively and offensively for us, especially against teams that we have such familiarity with. He’s such a high-IQ type of guy that he’ll most likely find himself in the right place at the right time and help our rotation get back to what we’re consistently used to.

”Just for him, just as a person Wholesale Brian Urlacher Jersey Authentic Elite Limited - Nike Chicago Bears Official NFL Football Shop , to be healthy and be able to play in The Finals now that we’re here, I think that would mean a lot to him and give us an emotional boost as well.”

With Iguodala, his value goes far deeper than stats.

Players, coaches and even opponents rave about how he makes the Warriors better with his decision-making and how he’s a calming influence on the floor. And with Golden State already halfway to the four wins needed for another NBA title, his presence will make this comeback attempt by the Cavaliers in this series only more challenging.

”We all know what he’s capable of and how he helps this team,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. ”So it will be a huge boost for us.”




TAMPA, Fla. — Four games into the Eastern Conference final, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals are tied 2-2, but getting there hasn’t been anything as expected.

The road team has won all four games Joe Theismann Jersey , with Washington dominating its way to a 2-0 lead in Tampa, only to see the Lightning pull back even with two road wins themselves.

The Capitals are 7-1 on the road and 3-5 at home in the playoffs, so do the Lightning really have an advantage with two of the remaining three games at Amalie Arena?

“It seems like in this series, the pressure shifts on the home team,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team is 5-1 on the road in the playoffs against the New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Capitals. “The big, glaring 0-4 is staring at you. Home-ice advantage has been a disadvantage in this series. Having said that, I’d rather have Game 5 at home. I believe we’ll be a different team than we showed up in Games 1 and 2.”

In a battle of division winners Jordan Reed Jersey , the Lightning are in the conference final for the third time in four years and the Capitals are here for the first time in 20 years.

Which will be the advantage to push one team to the Stanley Cup final?

Capitals forward Tom Wilson said the advantages of home ice are lessened in the playoffs, when both teams have ample energy and intensity because of what’s on the line.

“It doesn’t really matter this time of year, whether you’re home or away,” Wilson said after the Game 4 loss. “Every game is huge and the emotion is going to be there. Road, home, it doesn’t matter. We’re going to go after it and hopefully get the next one.”

Special teams have been at the center of Tampa Bay’s turnaround, as well as stellar play in net from Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning have gone 6 of 14 on their power play in the series, improving on the success rate for what was the NHL’s best power play in the regular season.

Even more impressively, Tampa Bay’s penalty kill Muhammad Wilkerson Jersey , which ranked in the bottom five of the league in the regular season, went 7 of 7 on killing off Capitals power plays in the last two games. Three of those came in the final eight minutes of the first period Thursday night, as Tampa Bay held onto a 2-1 lead.

Steven Stamkos has dominated on the power play — six of his seven postseason goals and six of his nine postseason assists have come on that unit, matching Nikita Kucherov for the team scoring lead with 16 total points each.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin both have 10 goals to pace the Capitals, who now have the confidence that comes with playing on the road.

Tampa Bay tied for the NHL lead with 25 road wins in the regular season, but it will need to win a home game to win this series. Overall in the playoffs, road teams are 40-34, on pace to challenge the NHL record for most postseason wins by a road team — 47 in 2012.

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