Serge Ibaka’s injury changes the complexion of the Thunder-Spurs series, turning San Antonio from slight to prohibitive favorite.
But there’s another health issue that could swing it back in the other direction.
Spurs point guard Tony Parker continues to deal with a lingering hamstring issue, which forced him to miss time in the regular season and knocked him out of the Spurs’ final game against the Blazers on Wednesday.
Parker says he’s hopeful to play in Game 1, but how effective he can be is the key question. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Parker didn’t practice on Friday and won’t practice on Saturday.
“He's going to stay off it today and tomorrow,” Popovich told reporters. “They're going to put him on the treadmill a little bit and a bike and shoot a little bit and see where we're at.”
JACKSON CALLS ADAMS ‘POTENTIAL’ HALL OF FAMER
Over the past two weeks, Steven Adams has emerged from the end of the bench to cement his place in the Thunder rotation.
And his loudest statement came on Thursday night, when Adams was forced into extended action after Serge Ibaka went down with a calf injury. Playing a career-high 40 minutes, he finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, his second career double-double. He was active on offense, disruptive on defense and impactful on both ends, compiling a game-high plus-17 during his time on the floor.
The impressive showing even caused point guard Reggie Jackson, known for his bouts of exaggeration, to make a bold postgame statement about the 20-year-old rookie.
“He has the potential to be a Hall of Famer,” Jackson said.
“Not going to lie, there isn’t really anything he can’t do,” Jackson continued. “Jumps out of the gym, very physical, strong, gifted, can shoot hook shots with either hand. People don’t really get to see, but he’s pretty comfortable shooting mid-range shots. If we ever just let him loose and he starts to figure things out, he’ll be a scary player in this league.”