A week ago, no one in their right mind could have predicted that Serge Ibaka would see the court against the San Antonio Spurs in the this year’s Western Conference Finals.
Last night, Ibaka not only played, but he also scored 15 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked four shots. Oh, yea. He also willed his Oklahoma City Thunder to a 106-97 Game 3 win over the Spurs. The Thunder still trail the series 2-1, but now have shown themselves –and the world — that this WCF isn’t going to be a cake walk for the Spurs.
And if Ibaka can continue to provide the same impact he managed to invoke in Game 3, this may end up being the series that we all envisioned it to be.
But that’s a big if.
For one night, however, it worked.
In addition to the return of Ibaka, the “good” versions of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant also emerged as well in Game 3. Westbrook and Durant finished with a combined 51 points on 16-of-38 shooting. Both finished 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Reggie Jackson, who was inserted into the starting lineup in place of the struggling Thabo Sefolosha, added 15 points.
Manu Ginobili led the Spurs in defeat with 23 points off the bench.
Here are the complete highlights: