WESTBROOK'S THUMB STILL HURTING
Russell Westbrook had his left thumb wrapped during most of Thursday morning's shootaround.
Westbrook injured the thumb late in the Thunder's Western Conference Finals series against San Antonio.
Westbrook took one-handed shots with his right hand during the open portion of the shootaround before pulling the wrap back and taking shots with both hands.
He did not wear a wrap during either of this series' first two games.
While Westbrook has received plenty of criticism this year, he came two rebounds shy of a triple-double in Game 1 and has Miami coach Erik Spoelstra's attention.
“He's such an aggressive, attacking player. I think even when he makes mistakes at times that they live with it because he creates so much on those assaults to the rim,” Spoelstra said. “So our job tonight will be to try to get him out of his comfort level as much as possible while we respect that speed.”
IBAKA GETS BACK ON THE BLOCKS
After being held without a block for the first time in the playoffs and just the fourth time all year, it didn't take Serge Ibaka long to start making up for it.
Just more than four minutes into the game, Ibaka blocked a Dwyane Wade shot.
By the end of the first half, Ibaka had four blocks, all on Miami's “Big Three.”
Ibaka blocked LeBron James twice and Chris Bosh once before the half ended.
NBA AFRICA REPRESENTED AT FINALS
The National Basketball Association's vice-president of development in Africa, Amadou Gallo Fall, arrived in Oklahoma City in time for Game 2.
Fall, a former director of player personnel and vice president of international affairs for the Dallas Mavericks, works from the NBA offices on Johannesburg, South Africa.
With players like Serge Ibaka, who is from the Congo, and Thabo Sefolosha, whose father is from South Africa, playing in the NBA Finals, Fall said interest in basketball in Africa is at a high point.
Three Thunder players — Ibaka, Sefolosha and Cole Aldridge — will be in South Africa for the 2012 Basketball Without Borders camp.
Sefolosha attended the 2009 camp there.
“When they come in and talk to these kids and (Ibaka) can say six years ago, he was sitting right there, I think it just makes our job even easier,” Fall said. “I could point to kids in Congo or wherever and say, ‘Hey, look at Serge. He was disciplined, he worked hard and he's on his way.'
“You've got to have role models these kids can look up to.”
BARNES ‘UNDERESTIMATED' DURANT
When Kevin Durant was preparing to enter the 2007 NBA Draft, his college coach, Texas' Rick Barnes, made a bold prediction.
He said Durant would be the best player in the world by the time he was 25.
Today, Durant is 23 and already is in that conversation.
“That's my fault, because I underestimated him,” Barnes said.
Barnes answered several questions about Durant on the Big 12 coaches' teleconference Thursday morning.
The Texas coach reflected on the pre-draft criticism Durant received about his perceived lack of strength.
“I always keep thinking back about people saying he couldn't bench press 185 pounds,” Barnes said.
“I said, ‘I don't know how many times he can bench press 185, but one thing I do know he will do and can do: he can put that world championship trophy over the top of his head.”
Barnes also coached Thunder reserve Royal Ivey and Heat reserve Dexter Pittman when they were Longhorns.