The San Antonio Spurs throttled the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals series, 122-105.
San Antonio did most of its damage in the paint, scoring a whopping 66 points in the paint. Of course that is mainly due to the fact OKC’s defensive beast Serge Ibaka did not play due to a calf strain which is reportedly going to keep him out of the entire postseason for the Thunder.
However, despite the fact OKC head coach Scott Brooks says Ibaka isn’t returning, if Serge has his way, he will return sooner than expected.
Via Yahoo! Sports:
Far from the beginnings of these Western Conference finals, far from these unfortified Oklahoma City Thunder, Serge Ibaka is defiant and determined for the world to witness his Willis Reed moment. Ibaka, so proud, so professional, is respectively raging against his injury diagnosis.
Ibaka is back in Oklahoma City for Games 1 and 2 – ruled out of the playoffs with a lower leg injury – but his willingness to play with pain, his loyalty to the championship cause, has him thinking about starting some stationary shooting late this week, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Monday.
Considering Ibaka is back in OKC and Brooks is claiming the center isn’t coming back, this should bode well for the Spurs in the series.
Ibaka is a defensive beast and a great rim protector. Not only that, he can shoot the ball and has been key for OKC as he is considered their third best player on the roster.
Losing Serge was apparent in OKC’s Game 1 loss. He averaged 15 points, and 8.8 rebounds in the regular season and averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 13 postseason games.
Unfortunately for OKC, they will have to learn to play without Ibaka during their postseason run.