The Norman Transcript

Sports

May 26, 2014

Ibaka spurs huge win: Inspiring performance on injured calf changes the series

OKLAHOMA CITY — With three minutes left in Game 3, Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka had his face buried in a towel. He held it there for several moments, seemingly trying to hide the emotion coming out of him.

On an injured calf, Ibaka had just produced an inspiring performance that helped lead the Thunder to a series saving 106-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs Sunday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“When you talk about a teammate, that’s everything you want your teammate to embody, is a guy who gives himself up for the team, gives his body up for the team,” Kevin Durant said of Ibaka. “No matter how this game would have went tonight, I gained so much more respect for Serge, giving up his body for the team.”

Ibaka, who missed the series’ first two games due to a calf strain, scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots. But it was his overall presence that motivated the entire squad.

It only took 38 seconds for Ibaka to make his first impact of the game. He scored the game’s first basket on a mid-range jumper. He then hit his next three shots.

“I think I did pretty well,” Ibaka said. “Not just me, but my teammates, too. We did a great job making (the Spurs) make some tough shots. I just tried to give my teammates some energy, help on offense and to make my presence in the paint.”

Establishing that presence set the tone defensively. Oklahoma City limited San Antonio to 39.6 percent shooting, while the Thunder hit 45.7 percent of their shots from the floor.

Russell Westbrook scored 26 points, and Durant added 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who trail the best-of-seven series 2-1. Game 4 will be played Tuesday in Oklahoma City.

“I was very disappointed that we didn’t come out with more of a foot-in-the-neck sort of attitude,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “They killed us on the boards, they beat us to 50/50 balls, and that’s very disappointing to me. That’s not the way you approach a game.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Big 12 Media Days Football Big 12 could fill NCAA’s vacuum; make the discipline calls, too

    It doesn’t look good for Joe Mixon.  Though his attorney, Kevin Finlay, said the most ballyhooed prospect of the Sooners’ most recent recruiting class “instinctually defended himself against further harm,” it just doesn’t ...

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tang making a splash on state level

    The Sooner Swim Club has produced a long string of great athletes in Norman. Norman North has won back-to-back state championships and senior Justin Wu owns several state records and last week qualified for the U.S. National swim meet. The ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Bradford facing another year of scrutiny in newest season

    ST. LOUIS — It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford. Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Judge rules against owner Donald Sterling, but lengthy saga far from over

    LOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling lost his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer....

    July 29, 2014

  • T-Wolves land guard Mo Williams

    MINNEAPOLIS — Mo Williams is on his way to Minnesota, which means J.J. Barea could be on his way out....

    July 29, 2014

  • LSU freshmen face misdemeanors

    BATON ROUGE, La. — Two LSU freshmen football players face charges, one for allegedly stealing a bicycle outside Middleton Library and the other for allegedly tossing firecrackers into a campus apartment....

    July 29, 2014

  • Fitzgerald says players’ push for union brought Northwestern together

    CHICAGO — No matter how this season unfolds, Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald insisted there is no more unified team than his Wildcats. For that, he credits the push for them to unionize....

    July 29, 2014

  • Delany rides fence with PSU

    CHICAGO — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany took a non-committal stance on an effort by five Pennsylvania Congressmen to rescind sanctions against Penn State for its handling of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal....

    July 29, 2014

  • Murray St. aims to be OVC contenders

    Fifth-year Murray State coach Chris Hatcher has returned the program to OVC relevance thanks to his exciting “Hatch Attack” offense. The Racers will need more results if they hope to be serious contenders....

    July 29, 2014

  • Healthy Claiborne ready to show his worth to Cowboys

    OXNARD, Calif. — Morris Claiborne got on Terrance Williams’ nerves the minute the competition started at training camp for the Dallas Cowboys....

    July 29, 2014

Facebook