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Thunder notebook: Serge Ibaka returns to practice, will start

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: May 6, 2011

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka returned to practice Friday and will start Game 3 on Saturday at FedExForum in Memphis. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.

"He's feeling much better," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Ibaka, who suffered a sprained left ankle late in Game 2 against the Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Arena.

Ibaka also bumped knees in Tuesday's contest and has recovered from that injury.


The Memphis Grizzlies camp is stressing better spacing in Game 3 to give their impressive frontcourt of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol more room to roam.

"We're going to do what we've tried do all year, really just contain the basketball, keep the basketball away from the basket, and close out to their shooters," Brooks said when asked about the Grizzlies' game plan. "However they play, we will adjust accordingly. We're really more concerned about how we play and the type of energy, effort and execution we put it on the floor.

"All coaches are concerned with spacing, and I'm no different. When we're good offensively, the floor is spaced, the ball is moving, the shots are easier to come by. Our job is not to allow those things to happen (defensively)."


Thunder reserve point guard Eric Maynor surprised Memphis coach Lionel Hollins by shooting 3 for 4 from 3-point range in Game 2.

Maynor is 6 for 15 from beyond the arc this postseason, compared to 1 for 6 in last's year's playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers. In the 28 regular-season games after the All-Star break, Maynor made 42.3 percent of his 3-pointers.

"He worked on it all summer. He's a hard worker. He's consistent with it every day, and it's starting to pay off for him," All-Star Kevin Durant said of Maynor. "This whole season, he's been knocking down that 3-ball. One of his things last year was he would pass up wide open 3s. The coaches told him throughout the summer to work on that because he's going to get a lot of opportunities. And he's making them for us. So we really depend on him to make those wide open 3s, especially with the clock running down."

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