Forward Serge Ibaka made a epic return from injury to lead the desperate Oklahoma City Thunder to a 106-97 win May 25 over the San Antonio Spurs in game 3 of the National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference Finals in Oklahoma City.
OKC has now cut the Spurs lead to 2-1 in the best best-of-seven series.
The Thunder trailed, 2-0, in the series after two blowout losses in games 1 and 2. The absence of Ibaka, OKC’s premier rim protector, was costly as San Antonio toyed with the Thunder throughout the first two games as the star defender was officially ruled out for the rest of the playoffs by the team due to a calf injury.
But after days of rest, Ibaka returned Sunday night in game 3 to score 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field with 7 rebounds. Most importantly, he kept San Antonio from getting to the rim, producing 4 blocks for the game.
Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook did most of the scoring for OKC, combining for 51 points. Westbrook had 26 points with 8 rebounds and 7 assists and KD posted a double-double of 25 points with 10 rebounds.
Guard Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 23 points off the bench; Tim Duncan had 16 points.
OKC will try to tie the series at 2-2 when they host the Spurs in game 4 on May 27.