A week and a half ago, Serge Ibaka was expected to miss the remainder of the postseason with a left calf strain. On Sunday, following what seems to have been a miraculous recovery, the power forward not only started for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but he made a major impact in the process, scoring 15 points, grabbing seven rebounds, blocking four shots and tilting the floor on both ends to lead OKC to a crucial 106-97 Game 3 win. It's safe to say Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich noticed the Congolese big man's presence.
During his postgame press conference, Pop was asked about the status of shooting guard Manu Ginobili, who was just about the only Spur who played well — a team-high 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including 6 for 9 from 3-point land, with 20 of them coming before halftime — and who played just over four minutes in the fourth quarter, limping to the locker room at one point during the final frame. Given the opportunity, Pop showed that, even after a loss, he can still find time to crack wise:
"He'll be fine," Popovich said. "Or, he's out for the rest of the playoffs."
After the assembled media cracked up, Pop allowed himself a smile.
"You've still got to have some fun, even if you lose," he said. "Come on, it's basketball. Yeah, we wanted to win, but you know, I want to laugh, too."
One thing that'd be helpful in the laughing department? If Manu actually will be fine. For what it's worth, Ginobili said after the game that he just went to the locker room to ice a sore foot, and that his health is "no big concern." (Clearly, somebody hasn't been paying attention to the importance of worst-case-scenario injury reporting in this series.)
If you'd like more than just the jokes, here's more from Pop's presser:
Top video via @cjzero.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Gregg Popovich
- Serge Ibaka
- Manu Ginobili