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Serge Ibaka now day-to-day for Thunder, could play in Game 3

May 23, 2014, 12:51 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder's Ibaka plays against San Antonio Spurs during their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City Reuters

Looks like the Oklahoma City Thunder — including coach Scott Brooks and Serge Ibaka himself — have been sandbagging.

Oklahoma City released a statement Thursday, Serge Ibaka has been listed as day-to-day and could play in the Western Conference Finals, the team announced Friday. Game 3 is Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Ibaka suffered a strained calf in Game 6 against the Los Angeles Clippers and missed the first two games of the Western Conference Finals, both blowout wins by the Spurs where Ibaka’s presence was missed on both ends of the court.

“The abundance of blood and therefore swelling in Serge’s calf has reduced substantially and unexpectedly, allowing a level of movement and stability not thought possible after the initial diagnosis…” Thunder GM Sam Presti said in a released statement. “At present, Serge has yet to complete a full basketball workout, but is walking and doing light basketball drills. With this new information, and in an effort to keep his status current, we are now listing him as day-to-day with the understanding that there is a possibility for him to play in this series.”

He may be able to return by Game 3.

The Spurs expected something like this.

In the first two games, the Spurs scored 120 points total in the paint — a sign of how much the Thunder missed Ibaka’s shot blocking. In the regular season the Spurs shot just 50 percent in the restricted area against the Thunder, much of that due to Ibaka’s length. In two games this series the Spurs have gotten 58 shots in the restricted area and hit 77.6 percent of them.

However, Ibaka’s absence is missed more on the offensive end, where he is a reliable third scoring option with a mid-range shot that defenders have to respect. The Spurs have not respected Nick Collison or any other scorer on the Thunder, focusing instead on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, taking away easy buckets and making life generally difficult for them.

Down 2-0 a return of Ibaka might come too late to save the series for the Thunder, but it makes it far more interesting.

  1. nfl4days - May 23, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    Why is Kendrick Perkins in the NBA?

    • apkyletexas - May 23, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Probably being 6’10” has something to do it.

      • spursareold - May 23, 2014 at 1:11 PM

        Except, he’s not 6’10”. Don’t care what he’s listed at.

      • apkyletexas - May 23, 2014 at 1:31 PM

        OK. Probably being 6′ 9 3/4″ has something to do with it.

      • spursareold - May 23, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        He’s about Diaw sized, 6’8″ or so.

  2. spursareold - May 23, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Is Harden going to dress, too?

    • cbking05 - May 23, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      “dress” has a “d” in it ….so the answer is no….maybe silent but it’s there

    • cbking05 - May 23, 2014 at 1:31 PM

      “dress” has a “d” in it ….so the answer is no….may be silent but it’s there

  3. beach305 - May 23, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    What does derrick rose’s brother have to say?

  4. cantonb0und13 - May 23, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Thunder real MVP returns. Which means Thunder best players goes from: 1. Ibaka 2. Westbrook 3. Jackson 4. Durant

    • dablakdrphil - May 23, 2014 at 5:43 PM

      ^^ Lol Such disrespect to the great KD

      ET aka Reggie Jackson is NOT ahead of Durant

  5. bucrightoff - May 23, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    So instead of losing by 25, they’ll only lose by 8.

    • antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      I don’t know – the Heat lost by 36 in Game 3 of the Finals last year, then won Game 4 by 16 – and that was in San Antonio.

      It’s the Spurs, so anything can happen.

  6. hwatt - May 23, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    how does one team collapse so fast without the supposed ‘3rd guy’?

    • cantonb0und13 - May 23, 2014 at 2:54 PM

      Durant is thinking the samething, as we speak.

    • antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 3:44 PM

      They didn’t really “collapse so fast” – they lost the first two games on the road in a best of 7 series. It’s not uncommon. They obviously preferred a split, but they didn’t get it. But now they’re back home and the next two games are in their favor – especially if Ibaka is back.

  7. finsfan71 - May 23, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    Spurs are a machine. And I actually thought the Thunder was there kryptonite. Rooting for the Heat but these guys look better than last year.

  8. spursareold - May 23, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Pop and Spurs not at ALL surprised by this. His reaction when informed: “We all know Sammy (Presti)”

  9. cantonb0und13 - May 23, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    The difference from last season and this season with the Spurs is: Manu Ginoboli. He’s playing with so much confidence this year, he’s playing like he cost his team a championship last season.

    • finsfan71 - May 23, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      Wasn’t he hurt last year?

    • antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      That’s an odd thing to say. Gino has been shooting 37.2% in his last 10 playoff games. In fact, if it wasn’t for Game 2 against Dallas (where he shot 9-12) he’d be shooting 37.5% for the entire playoffs.

      Is that good?

  10. jbeagles23 - May 23, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    The spurs look unstoppable but the big difference between the heat and thunder is they don’t have have offensive lineup and a defensive lineup

    • fanofthegame79 - May 23, 2014 at 3:14 PM

      Agreed. Because this same Spurs team didn’t look this good against a complete Mavs team in round 1. Let’s face it, the Trailblazers were just excited to be in the second round, without any real shot at winning. The Thunder had a great chance, but Ibaka went down (to be determined if it stays that way). I think the Spurs look really good right now, but is that a result of who they’ve played?

  11. naterich21 - May 23, 2014 at 3:25 PM

    This Ibaka roller coaster of updates is so stupid. Let’s get the series over with

  12. antistratfordian - May 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    What a surprise. No one could have imagined this turn of events.

  13. campcouch - May 23, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Incredible how being down 0-2 can heal you.

  14. trickybastard - May 24, 2014 at 3:19 AM

    Future NBA painkiller lawsuit…

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