With Serge Ibaka back in the lineup, the Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back after two blowout losses to beat the San Antonio Spurs, 106-97, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Spurs now lead the series, 2-1.
Ibaka had a solid game in his surprise return from a calf injury, scoring 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking four shots, including this swat of Danny Green:
Russell Westbrook got off to a rough start, but he came on strong and led the Thunder with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Kevin Durant notched a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Reggie Jackson, starting in place of Thabo Sefolosha, had 15 points and five assists. The Thunder dominated the glass battle, out-rebounding the Spurs, 52-36.
Manu Ginobili had 23 points to lead San Antonio, but 20 of those points came in the first half. Tim Duncan added 16 points and eight rebounds. Tony Parker really struggled, scoring just nine points on 4-of-13 shooting. After shooting nearly 54 percent combined in Games 1 and 2, the Spurs shot just 39.6 percent in Game 3.
Ibaka made his presence felt almost immediately, scoring the first two points of the game and going on to score eight points in the first quarter. Oklahoma City shot 63.2 percent in the opening frame, but San Antonio led by one at the end of the quarter thanks to seven Thunder turnovers and some strong work on the offensive glass.
The game was tight throughout the beginning of the second quarter, but Oklahoma City surged ahead to a nine-point lead after a Durant three. Ginobili caught fire from long range to get the Spurs back in the game, but Westbrook ended the half with a crazy deep three to put Thunder up four at the break:
The Thunder struggled with their shooting in the third quarter, making just 23.5 percent of their shots. However, Oklahoma City extended the margin to seven points heading into the fourth quarter thanks to a huge advantage at the free throw line. The Thunder made 18-of-22 from the charity stripe in the third quarter, while the Spurs didn't attempt a single free throw.
Oklahoma City scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to open up a 14-point lead, and the Thunder cruised to victory from there on out. Oklahoma City will try to tie up the series at 2-2 on Tuesday night.