Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has “rapidly progressed” and is upgraded to day-to-day in the Western Conference Finals, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Serge Ibaka has rapidly progressed and Thunder have changed status to day-to-day for Western Conference Finals, league source tells Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 23, 2014
Ibaka’s calf “responded well” to tests on Thursday, making a potential return for Game 3 possible.
With healthy Ibaka on the floor this season, the San Antonio Spurs scored 93 points per 100 possessions, 15 points fewer than their regular season mark, and 27 points fewer than when Ibaka wasn’t on the floor. Their field goal percentage and 3-point percentage spiked when he was off the floor, too.
This series hasn’t been much different. San Antonio has outscored the Thunder by 52 points (the highest margin of victory in the first two games of a conference finals in NBA history) and they’ve scored a whopping 204 points from the paint, free throws and 3-pointers. Oklahoma City has tinkered with different lineups to approximate Ibaka’s rim protection to no avail. The Spurs keep on Spurs-ing.
Healthy Ibaka changes the series. It’s just … he probably won’t be healthy Ibaka, unless he’s a superhuman. He injured a muscle that isn’t even present in 15 percent of the population and said muscle doesn’t typically heal quickly — quick acceleration, stopping and re-starting isn’t advised. Basketball players tend to do that a bunch.
Unless Ibaka approximates regular season Ibaka — they can’t win with 60%, one-legged Ibaka — this may be a little too late for the Thunder to salvage the series.