SAN ANTONIO — In the days leading up to the Western Conference finals, experts at NBA think tanks tried to analyze how the Oklahoma City Thunder would operate without Serge Ibaka, their injured 6-foot-10 forward.
If Game 1 were any indication, the answer is not very well. With the league’s No. 2-ranked shot-blocker missing because of a strained left calf, the San Antonio Spurs had relatively unimpeded passage to the basket and defeated the Thunder 122-105.
The series will resume in San Antonio on Wednesday — without Ibaka, who might be gone for the remainder of the playoffs.
The Spurs outscored the Thunder 66-32 in the paint. Forward Tim Duncan led the way with 27 points. Reserve guard Manu Ginobli scored all 18 of his points in the second half. Forward Kawhi Leonard and guard Danny Green scored 16 apiece, with Green converting four of five 3-point shots. Guard Tony Parker produced 14 points and 12 assists.
Forward Kevin Durant scored a game-high 28 points for Oklahoma City, and guard Russell Westbrook added 25 points.
The Spurs shot 57.5 percent from the floor for the game, far better than the Thunder’s 46.3 percent success rate.
Oklahoma City erased an eight-point halftime deficit and led by one twice during the third quarter. Westbrook was most responsible for the comeback, shifting into an attacking gear to score 12 points in the period.
The Spurs, meanwhile, threw up some clumsy shots, but they regrouped with a 10-0 push and finished the quarter ahead by seven.
San Antonio dominated much of the first half but came away with just a 67-59 lead. The Spurs once led 63-48.
Duncan scored 21 first-half points, hitting nine of 12 shots. Parker added 12 points and six assists before the break, and Leonard scored 11. Green gave San Antonio a quick boost with eight points in a span of 1:13 of the second quarter. He made a pair of 3-pointers.
San Antonio shot 62 percent in the half and outscored Oklahoma City 40-18 in the paint, where the Thunder missed Ibaka as a deterrent at the rim.
Durant scored an efficient 16 in the half, converting five of seven shots, including both of his 3-point attempts. Durant received some much-needed supplemental help from reserve guards Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson, who scored 11 and nine points, respectively. Fisher, the long-time Spurs nemesis, hit three of four 3-pointers in the half.
Fisher wound up with 16 points, and Jackson scored 13.
NOTES: Spurs F Boris Diaw was poked in the lower right eyelid late in the first quarter by Oklahoma City C Steven Adams. Diaw left the game and returned later in the second quarter with a swollen eye but no structural damage. … F/C Nick Collison, who replaced injured F/C Serge Ibaka (calf) in Oklahoma City’s starting lineup, had not started a game all season before Monday. … Oklahoma City, 4-0 against San Antonio during the regular season, won one game without G Russell Westbrook, one that Spurs F Kawhi Leonard missed, and a third when Spurs G Manu Ginobili didn’t play. Leonard also missed the second half of the game in which Westbrook didn’t play. …The Spurs are in their ninth conference finals since F/C Tim Duncan joined the team in 1997-98, more than any other NBA team during that span.
NBA Team Salaries
- NBA Best Bets and Free Picks Tonight, 1/21
- Heat vs Hawks NBA Picks, Prediction and Betting Trends for Tonight’s Game
- Clippers vs 76ers NBA Picks, Prediction and Betting Trends for Tonight’s Game
- Lakers vs Magic Prediction, NBA Picks and Betting Trends for Tonight’s Game
- Trail Blazers vs Celtics NBA Picks, Prediction and Betting Trends for Tonight’s Game
Headlines2 weeks ago
Klay Thompson Return Expected Sunday Against Cavaliers
Main Page2 weeks ago
NBA Betting Picks: Milwaukee Bucks vs Charlotte Hornets prediction, preview and picks
Main Page3 days ago
Pacers vs Celtics Prediction, NBA Picks and Betting Trends Tonight’s Game
Main Page2 weeks ago
NBA Betting Picks: San Antonio Spurs vs New York Knicks preview, prediction and picks