The Oklahoma City Thunder welcomed the comeback of injured forward Serge Ibaka to take a 57-53 halftime lead over the San Antonio Spurs in game #3 of their NBA Western Conference finals playoff series Sunday night at “The Peake” in downtown OKC.
Ibaka, who was ruled out of the playoffs after suffering a strained left calf in the final game of the L.A. Clippers playoff series, returned to start in this one – and has yet to miss a shot at halftime. He’s 5-5 from the floor and grabbed 6 rebounds to go along with his 10 points. Kevin Durant leads OKC with 13 points on a 5-7 shooting half and Russell Westbrook has 12 on just 3-10 shooting, but Westbrook drained a long “3” with less than a second to play to give the Thunder their halftime margin of 4 points.
Manu Ginobili is playing out of his mind off the San Antonio bench. The veteran scorched the nets for 20 points in the opening half on 7-11 shooting including five 3-pointers in 8 tries. On the other hand, Tony Parker is being more than contained by improved Thunder defense, being held to just 2 points on 1-6 shooting and Parker has turned it over 3 times.
San Antonio scored 120 points inside the lane or “painted” area of the court in the first two games…but Ibaka’s presence and improved inside play has limited the Spurs to just 20 points in that close-in region in the first half. The Thunder, by contrast, scored 26 points “in the paint”.
OKC must win the game to cut San Antonio’s