Oklahoma City start their Western Conference finals campaign on Tuesday. The Thunder will therefore have to outperform the San Antonio Spurs. Even before the outbreak of hostilities, OKC moves with disabilities. Indeed, Scott Brooks will have to deal until the end of the season without Serge Ibaka , 2nd best blocker of the season.
This is a real blow to the Thunder forced to move without one of the best defenders in the league due to an injur. Serge Ibaka picked a calf injury in the last game of the semi-finals series against the Clippers and will find the floor of the NBA only next season. This withdrawal of Ibaka is “unfortunate for us,” says the MVP of the season Kevin Durant ; especially as the player who passed the largest number of cons for the fourth straight season (219 blocks) was also enhanced in attack with an average of 15.1 points before the playoffs.
To overcome this lack in painting, Russell Westbrook thinks he will “play a team defense. We will not ourselves take responsibility of cons as does Serge because nobody can do that.” During the series of playoffs, the Spanish- Congolese winger showed strong defense making 8.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.
Rookie Steve Adams (2.13 m), the experienced Nick Collison (2.06 m) and Hasheem Thabeet from the bench, will therefore have a duty to contain Tim Duncan in the paint. “We’ve overcome injuries throughout the season (note , Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins ),” says coach Brooks. “The locker room is ready to continue to play hard, despite the circumstances. We have enough players to win this series.”
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