As we expected, Serge Ibaka returned from a calf injury, adding 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 30 minutes, as the Thunder beat the spurs 106-97. Beside that, Kevin Durant had a double-double (25 points, 10 rebounds), and Westbrook with 26 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Role players such as Steven Adams and Rreggie Jackson did their job, as Jackson had 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists, and Steven Adams had 7 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Regarding the Spurs, they struggled a lot in game 3. If it wasn’t for Ginobili, the Spurs wouldn’t have the ability to resist and probably would’ve surrendered quickly to the Thunder. Manu had 23 points, and the rest of the team shot 39.6% from the field. Defensively, San Antonio failed to control the paint as they did in the previous games.
During the absence of Ibaka in game 1 and 2, the Spurs scored 66 points in the Thunder’s paint, and 54 points in game 2. However, this did not last long, as it went to 38 points only in game 3 due to the presence of Ibaka. Above all, The Thunder are 11-2 with Ibaka in their last 13 games versus the Spurs.
In conclusion, it was a great game overall. Finally the Thunder did a great job securing a home court win. Credit goes to Ibaka for giving the team a push emotionally and coming out with an outstanding performance. He was a true hero, he scarified himself just for the team, and did not give up when he was ruled out of the postseason. He believed that he could return in the following series, and he did, as he was the key for the Thunder win. That win gave us the hope that we might re-live the 2012 playoffs scenario versus the Spurs.