SAN ANTONIO -- Ninety minutes before Game 1 tip-off, Thunder coach Scott Brooks decided it was the “appropriate time” to reveal his starting lineup change.
With Serge Ibaka out, he had plenty of options. Brooks went with veteran Nick Collison. Why?
“Why not?” Brooks said. “You don’t like Nick? Everybody likes Nick.”
Then Brooks went on to actually give his reasoning.
“Nick gives us a good option, knows what we do,” Brooks said. “It’s a good matchup with (Tiago) Splitter. Splitter is a very physical player, great roller, great finisher around the rim. It gives us a guy that can stay in front of him and also our pick-and-roll coverages are important, and Nick is one of our best pick-and-roll defenders.”
The new starting lineup was outscored by 11 points in the first half, but it outscored the Spurs by five in the second.
SERGE IBAKA’S TWEET
Back in Oklahoma City receiving treatment, Serge Ibaka sent well-wishes to his teammates on Monday afternoon.
Before the Western Conference series between the Thunder and Spurs started, Ibaka sent out a good luck tweet, his first public statement since the calf injury that is expected to end his season.
“Thanks everyone for your support the last few days,” Ibaka’s tweet read. “I’m ready to watch and cheer 4 my teammates in this next challenge #TeamisOne #Thunderup.”
Forced into some unique lineup combinations, Brooks finally pulled Jeremy Lamb out of the deep freeze.
The Thunder rookie, who was so good in stretches this season before slumping down the stretch and falling from the rotation, received five first-half minutes and two more in mop-up time. He scored two points.