IF THE OKLAHOMA City Thunder are to find a way past the San Antonio Spurs and into the NBA Finals, they need to find a way to survive without Serge Ibaka.
The Spurs were easy winners in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, pulling away for a 122-105 win last night.
There’s one very simple explanation for their win — they scored 66 points in the paint (the small rectangle in front of the basket) while the Thunder managed just 32.
That’s the area that 6’10″ Ibaka would normally protect but unfortunately for the Thunder’s title chances, he’s out with a calf injury and unlikely to be fit again this season.
By way of comparison, the Spurs averaged 41.5 points in the paint in the regular season games between the sides — games in which Ibaka played.
Those extra 24 points made all the difference last night and if OKC want to win this series, they need to find an answer.
- Oklahoma City Thunder 105 @ San Antonio Spurs 122 (San Antonio lead 1-0)
- Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers (Wednesday 1.30am Irish time – Indiana lead 1-0)