About five minutes into Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the impact of the Serge Ibaka injury became abundantly clear.
The Thunder offence looked out of sorts, with Nick Collison bricking the same open baseline jumpers that Ibaka lives on.
The Thunder defence looked even worse, with the Spurs getting into the lane at an alarming rate and finishing with ease. San Antonio won 122-105 and scored 66 points in the paint on 57% shooting.
Oklahoma City doesn’t have another defender with the versatility, athleticism, or rim protection of Ibaka. OKC was 4-0 in the regular season against San Antonio, and Ibaka’s defence was a principal reason why.
They were just lost without him last night. The Spurs got everything they wanted in the paint.
1. They got easy dump offs at the rim:
2. Their perimeter players were able to finish at the rim:
3. Tim Duncan could get anywhere he wanted:
4. OKC was a mess in transition:
5. Tony Parker got into the lane routinely:
6. The Parker-Duncan pick and roll was too easy:
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