To the injury list, Serge Ibaka takes his 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks
But he also takes his six fouls. And that’s an important factor, too.
No longer can Steven Adams and Nick Collison throw their bodies around with little consequence. With one likely to start and both likely to get increased playing time and responsibility, the duo must be more cognizant of foul trouble.
“You’re going to get guys in foul trouble in these games because it’s physical and the fouls start to accumulate,” Collison said. “But we have to avoid the silly ones, the ones that don’t give us any advantage. So it’s big. We’re down a man so that’s six less fouls we’ve got.”
Brooks doesn’t reveal Ibaka’s replacement
Scott Brooks sounds like a man who has settled on his next starting power forward.
But he’s not one to give up state secrets.
“We’ll let you know at the appropriate time,” Brooks said, which likely means he’ll reveal it during his media session 90 minutes before tip-off on Monday night.
When asked of the options he’s considering, Brooks nearly mentioned his entire bench.
“We can go with Steven,” Brooks said. “We can go with Hasheem (Thabeet). We can go with Nick. Perry (Jones). Andre (Roberson). Jeremy (Lamb). Derek (Fisher). Who’d I forget? Oh, can’t forget about Reggie (Jackson). Reggie started some games this year.”
Perk compares losing Ibaka to losing Garnett
Back in the 2008 playoffs, the Boston Celtics lost All-Star forward Kevin Garnett for the postseason.
On Saturday, Kendrick Perkins, the center on that team, was asked about the similarities between that situation and OKC’s current one with Ibaka.
“They brought two different type things to the game,” Perkins said. “We lost KG, it was more of our emotional leader. He got 20 and 10, but he was our emotional leader, as far as on and off the court. So that was a big blow. But it’s somewhat the same, the defensive effort, the shot-making.”
Spurs hoping to avoid turnovers
The Thunder has had an issue forcing turnovers in the playoffs, causing only 10.9 per game from opponents, 14th fewest of the 16 competing teams.
But traditionally, with its frantic defensive style, the Thunder has been one of the league’s best at forcing them. And it’s something the Spurs remained worried about.
“It's a very big key for us,” Danny Green said. “We look at the games we lost against them, especially in the playoffs in 2012, it was turnovers.”
“We give ourselves a better chance if we don't turn the ball over,” Green continued. “They had so many points off turnovers and transition leads to fast breaks for them. If we take care of the ball it helps us a ton so that's a big emphasis for us: Don't turn the ball over and rebounding.”
Hours before Game 6 against the Clippers, with the Thunder practicing at a Jewish Education community center in Beverley Hills, Kevin Durant received a “Triple Rabbi Blessing,” according to TMZ Sports.
“I really prayed and I made a spiritual contact with my heart to Kevin,” one of the rabbis told the site.
The rabbi asked for a Thunder win, which wasn’t looking great at one point.
“When I heard that they were losing by 16 points, I was a little disappointed,” he told TMZ. “I said, ‘Hey God, don't embarrass me today.’”
The Thunder came back and won.
Perkins on the Spurs: “You just got to watch out for their trick plays, their back cuts. Like I said, we gotta play for 24 seconds, the play is never over. The same play that they run 10 minutes ago in the second quarter is the same one they’ll run to end the game. It’s all about trickery with them, take away their easy baskets.”
Stat of the day
The Thunder is 4-2 on the road this postseason and 4-3 at home. Against San Antonio, OKC doesn’t have homecourt advantage for the first and only time in these playoffs.