24 – Second thoughts — May 25

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com


VIDEO: Serge Ibaka’s surprise return from injury changes the Western Conference semifinals

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – By Any Means Necessary.

That is what it takes to survive and advance in these NBA playoffs. Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks knew as much heading into Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.

So did Serge Ibaka and Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson and the rest of the Thunder.

It was Ibaka, though, who served as the true game changer in this game and perhaps this series.

We’ll know more in another 48 hours …

The @okcthunder defeat the @officialspurs 106-97 in Game 3 of the #WCF.

A photo posted by NBA (@nba) on

:1

Thunder get 51 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists combined from the MVP Kevin Durant and #ForceOfNature Russell Westbrook. But the game ball tonight goes to Ibaka, who has 48 hours to rest, relax and regenerate. The Thunder need another 30 minutes like they got from him Sunday night in Game 4, which is already a candidate for Game of the Year.

:2

Rewind the tape to 2012 and ask yourself is this the same script or just one game?

:3

Serge was huge. But the energy and effort up and down the roster was completely different for the Thunder from the start. #Game4IsTheBigone

:4

Standing O for Ibaka, and well-deserved, as he comes out with 3:17 to play and the Thunder up 104-84. (15 pts, 7 rebs and 4 blocks.) Durant had to tell Brooks to get Ibaka out of the game. Somebody better buy Ibaka dinner tonight, too, as he just saved the Thunder’s bacon in this series.

:5

Caron Butler is on the Framily plan tonight in OKC, long distance included!

:6

Is for the six 3-pointers that Manu has knocked down, so far, tonight. #ManuBeingManu

:7

Thanks for making us all feel old! #GetOffMyLawn

:8

This performance from Serge, is this a one-night, one-game wonder or is this what the Thunder (and Spurs) can expect for the remainder of the series?

:9

Ibaka is everywhere on defense. He’s contesting shots on the perimeter, swatting them at the rim and even getting dunked on trying to contest a Kawhi Leonard lefty jam.


VIDEO: Kawhi Leonard finishes with the nasty lefty jam over Serge Ibaka

Gotta give the Serge Protector credit, he’s putting forth an all-world effort under the circumstances.

:10

Your move Kevin Hart!

:11

I had no idea there was a name for it …

:12

Yes We Can!


VIDEO: The Serge Protector!

:13

A four-point lead might not be enough. Spurs didn’t even play well and they are down four at the break #CodeRed for the Thunder for the remainder of the night …

:14

How much difference can one man make? #SergeIbaka

:15

Manu and RussWest playing a wicked game of H.O.R.S.E from beyond the 3-point line to finish half.

:16

As much as I hate to admit it, Reckless Westbrook has a better chance of helping the Thunder win this game as Relentless Westbrook! #oneinthesame

:17

Thunder need to watch the Pacers-Heat series. Finishing quarters is the difference between a true contender and a pretender …

:18

If it were only a matter of athleticism …

:19

And who is supposed tackle this task this time around?

:20

The next time I stub a toe playing ball or slightly pull a muscle that is supposed to keep me out of the action for a significant amount of time, I want whatever treatment Ibaka had for his calf injury. He looks like normal out there, impacting the game in plenty of ways and showing no signs of letting up.

:21

All that hype and the first quarter ends the same way Games 1 and 2 did without Ibaka …

:22

I get RussWest being frustrated. I even get him popping off to an official. What I don’t get is him being surprised that another official would take offense (bad call, no call or what have you)!

:23

Derek Fisher just had to top Nick Collison and get some stitches of his own. He’ll finish this night with a nice knot upside his head. #wegotableeder

:24

Best news folks in Oklahoma City have heard all week!


VIDEO: Serge Ibaka’s hot start

16 Comments

  1. Team Play Prevails says:

    OKC rely on one man to carry their defense… sorry, but that’s too much – even for the Serge Protector. San Antonio will adjust and show their normal well-oiled D&O next game. Spurs in 5…Fairy tales don’t repeat themselves!

  2. OKC Surge says:

    Not bad for a comeback from a season-ending injury! Funny status of a team though that collapses defensively after their best defender / rim protector goes down.

    This will give the Thunder a big lift, however Spurs will adjust and quiet the home crowd tomorrow with a road win, as the euphoria is over and it will be Spurs playing and closing out as usual. San Antonio are not letting OKC have another fairy tale comeback from 0-2 again this year…

  3. Tom says:

    Funny how an all-time NBA record was broken today and you won’t find mention of it anywhere on this site #rigged

  4. bodjee says:

    It seems like Ibaka is the OKC’s MVP …

  5. Iblaka says:

    Hey Jart, Don’t share that koolaid your drinking with anyone bcuz you obviously didn’t see the Spurs getting beat. OKC in 7. The tide has turned.

  6. SAS fan says:

    its obvious THUNDER won by free throws, i dont know how refs call its seems something fishy just curious..in 3rd quarter 22 pts. for OKC just free throws and 0 for SPURS..lets play clean

    • techmonkey123 says:

      Haha.. As it turns out the thunder were actually called for more fouls than the spurs, with the number being 24 fouls to 20 fouls

      • TPfan says:

        because refs know how to call fouls that can help a team (shooting fouls) and a fouls that just for the records (non shooting fouls) they know it thru the years of this business…#rigged

  7. solfegebjetsonore says:

    Can anyone explain this 2 play to me?
    3pt catch and shoot, offensive foul? http://www.gfycat.com/UnfitPresentEwe
    Adams ride on Duncan, No call? https://vine.co/v/Mwx5Erv6jQL

    Spurs:2
    Refs:1
    OKC:0

    NBA officials, please play make the game fair.

    • Ingiwtf1 says:

      The 3 point shooter is not allowed to kick his leg in front of him while up in the air to draw contact. That’s why it’s an offensive foul.

  8. okc2014 says:

    Go Thunder! Ibaka’s fake injury got the whole spurs team. He played through it like a man and unlike Westbrook that needs surgery! Thunder in 8!

  9. This was as great of an injury comeback story as any. Serge Ibaka just showed what he brings to this Thunder team, he is an anchor and a force to be reckoned with on both ends, more importantly he brings what Durant and Westbrook can’t, defensive stops. Durant looked rejuvenated, Westbrook seems less burdened and Reggie Jackson is emerging as a talent. Throw in Steven Adams who next to Ibaka presents a frontline that I don’t know if any team has an answer for. If the Thunder go on to win this series, they’ll look to this game and effort by Ibaka as the turning point. Older teams may need rest, but young teams are forged under adversity and this Thunder team is recognizing that they are bigger than their superstars.

  10. Carlo says:

    It’s a sad team that in which the whole defense rests on just one man.

  11. TrayMac89 says:

    There was alot of talk about a possible sweep. Serge Ibaka ‘s defense is what drives the Thunder. Kd russ and company need to thank god thier defensive captain suited up

    • Jart says:

      I think it’s a good win for the thunder, but it’s only one game, I disagree with Michael wilbon’s tweet, the Spurs are a hell of a team and they will bounce back on Tuesday. Spurs in 5