May 26, 2014, 4:38 PM EST
The return of Serge Ibaka changed the Western Conference Finals in Game 3 — Oklahoma City could spread the floor more on offense (creating room for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to operate), and on defense Ibaka blocked four shots and had the Spurs altering shots and missing (San Antonio shot just 50 percent in the restricted area).
However, Ibaka was limping at points during the end of Game 3. Then he did not practice with the Thunder on Monday.
Doesn’t matter, he is going to play in Game 4 he said, as reported by ESPN.
“The good news is I’m not feeling worse, so that’s good,” Ibaka said. “I’m sure every day I’m going to feel better every day, but I’m not expecting to feel much better yet tomorrow. One thing I know, I expect to do a better job….
“It was kind of hard a little bit with my feet. I was using more my right foot than left foot,” Ibaka said. “I could not do too much last night because after we saw the video, I felt like I was slow, and I’m sure my legs, my coaches, they understand, and I’m going to try to do tomorrow I’m going to try to do better than last game.”
With Ibaka and Reggie Jackson in the starting lineup the Thunder found their offense and played with a better defensive energy, the rotations that had been slow to nonexistent in the first two games were sharp in Game 3.
This felt a lot like Game 3 of the 2012 Western Conference Finals, when the Spurs won the first two games and the Thunder swept the next four.
The real question now is how the Spurs respond — they became sloppy in the face of the pressure, with Tony Parker in particular struggling (especially when Westbrook was guarding him). If the Spurs find their form again, Game 4 is going to be very interesting.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:36 AM EST
Balance and defense win the day.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:01 AM EST
180 or 360?
Jan 30, 2015, 10:59 PM EST
It took Kobe Bryant being injured for Cousins to make the squad.
Jan 30, 2015, 9:49 PM EST
If it can happen to Duncan….
Jan 30, 2015, 8:45 PM EST
Robin Lopez has a long rap sheet of mascot abuse.
Jan 30, 2015, 7:51 PM EST
Jeff Green could get more run.
Jan 30, 2015, 6:56 PM EST
This is not a serious injury, but they will miss him defending Blake Griffin.
Jan 30, 2015, 5:59 PM EST
All of those teams could use point guard depth.
Jan 30, 2015, 5:16 PM EST
Thank the new television contract.
Jan 30, 2015, 4:29 PM EST
“So if you see me diving on the floor and people say ‘what is he doing?’ I can’t help but be the player that I am.” —Jimmy Butler on playing in the All-Star Game
Jan 30, 2015, 3:29 PM EST
He should be. He was robbed.
Jan 30, 2015, 2:51 PM EST
I’ll take Stephen Curry
Jan 30, 2015, 2:09 PM EST
NBA Commissioner has delivered on All-Star Break. Back-to-backs next?
Jan 30, 2015, 1:34 PM EST
Who wil start for Kobe?
Jan 30, 2015, 12:49 PM EST
Will center stick with Mavericks this time?
Jan 30, 2015, 12:11 PM EST
Sliding into your DMs like…
Jan 30, 2015, 11:33 AM EST
Kings center waits five years, burns Clay Travis for tweet
Jan 30, 2015, 10:54 AM EST
Vaughn’s firing seems imminent
Jan 30, 2015, 10:13 AM EST
Who are the aWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWks?
Jan 30, 2015, 9:34 AM EST
Did anyone think he would get injured and say, “nah, I don’t want to fight through this” and walk away?
- Jimmy Butler even plans to play defense in the All-Star Game 8
- Damian Lillard “disappointed,” “disrespected” not to make All-Star team 44
- DeMarcus Cousins replaces Kobe Bryant in All-Star game 11
- Tyson Chandler, better than ever, thinking legacy 9
- Report: Magic close to firing Jacque Vaughn 17
- Three Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: The All-Star Rosters need to be expanded 29
- One day after having surgery, Kobe Bryant came to see Pau Gasol 8
- Report: Dwight Howard could miss “extended time” with knee injury 5