Things were going to be hard for the Oklahoma City Thunder without Serge Ibaka, but the San Antonio Spurs didn’t go easy on them, and the referees didn’t stretch out a helping hand, resulting in a 17-point loss to open the Western conference finals, and obviously a lot of memes and jokes at the Thunder’s expense.
One of the issues was the bench. Yes, they did get 29 points from Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher combined, but the Thunder needed more. More to make up for what Ibaka gives them. Instead they got some good defense from Nick Collison and Steven Adams, but hardly any points. No one expected anything from Kendrick Perkins anyway.
The Spurs, except for the third quarter in which they seemed a bit stunned by OKC’s increased physicality, were in complete control all the way through. Tim Duncan had things going on early in the paint, putting up his best performance in the postseason. Later on it was Manu Ginobili who made the difference and made sure the Thunder remained too far away.
It’s still not over, far from it. Kevin Durant has a lot more ammunition reserved for later in the series. Russell Westbrook can always go off. Serge Ibaka might return, as teams don’t always tell the truth about health situations. Right now? It doesn’t look good for the slight favorites heading into the series.