Thunder vs Spurs Game 3 Recap: Serge Ibaka and Scott Brooks Shine


May 25, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) talks to guard Reggie Jackson (15) during a break in play against the San Antonio Spurs during the second quarter in game three of the Western Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-97 in game three of the Western Conference Finals. Some thoughts on the game.

Serge Ibaka’s Return

I was a little skeptical how much Ibaka would play and contribute but that was skepticism was gone after a couple minutes in the first quarter. He hit three mid range jumpers, blocked two shots and made an awkward shot off the dribble that he wouldn’t make even if he was healthy. Immediately after he went to the bench, San Antonio attacked whoever Perkins was guarding and he gave up two layups. Easy and routine. He finished the half with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks.

He was great the rest of the night — walling off any penetration. There were times Parker would hesitate or pull up for a floater instead of blowing by the defender like he did in Game one and two.

Manu Ginobili 

Is this the same guy that looked finished in the 2013 Finals? He was absurd in the first half — 20 points, 7-of-11 shooting, 5-of-8 from the arc. Just absurd. But, the second half happened and Manu left the game with an injury. His first half saved this from turning into a blowout earlier.

Scott Brooks

Let’s give credit to the guy who receives plenty of blame. I was confused by Collison not playing but it proved to not matter. He took Thabo Sefolosha out of the starting lineup and inserted Reggie Jackson. Jackson gives OKC a better offensive option to go to if things bog down between Westbrook and Durant. He’s not as good as defensively as Thabo but it didn’t matter tonight. Good lineup change.

The best thing Brooks did all night was playing a lineup that featured Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka. There isn’t one bad offensive player in that lineup. Each can shoot, put the ball on floor and make the right pass. Lots of length on defense, too. Kendrick Perkins only played 13 minutes. That’s good.

Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams

I don’t remember the exact time, but Jeremy Lamb rarely played during the second half of the regular season. Not sure why when he’s a three-point threat and can put the ball on the floor. Don’t forget his ridiculous 7-foot-1 wingspan. Lamb scored 6 points and was 3-of-5 from the field. He grabbed three rebounds, too. He’s overmatched defensively against San Antonio’s guards and wings but OKC needs a weak side threat that can do something productive. Thabo cannot do anything. His shot release is like a 1776 rifle.

Steven Adams was awesome. He had four blocks and just two fouls in 28 minutes.

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 51 points, 18 rebounds, 10 assists on 16-of-38 shooting. San Antonio couldn’t stop them when they drove and got deep into the lane. Durant and Westbrook combined for 16 free throws.

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