Thunder Lose Their Boom

Thunder Lose Their Boom

Ibaka holding down the paint for the Thunder Image via nba.com

Zak Borrelli, Sports Reporter

The Oklahoma City Thunder have advanced to the Western Conference Finals and now face the San Antonio Spurs, but they’ll have to go the rest of the way without their rim protector Serge Ibaka

Ibaka had been averaging 12.2 ppg,7.3 rpg with 2.2 bpg all on 61% shooting from the field. Ibaka has been ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs after suffering a grade 2 strain of his left calf during the Thunder’s Game 6 victory over the Clippers on Thursday.

He’s been incredibly efficient for the Thunder, providing interior defense, shot blocking, pick and roll play, and a rock solid mid range jump shot. A key piece for the Thunder on both sides of the ball, the ultra-athletic Ibaka finished fourth in the 2014 Defensive Player of the Year voting thanks in part to his elite shot-blocking ability.

image via basketball-n-ent.com
image via basketball-n-ent.com

With Ibaka out with injury, the Thunder will have to rely more on players like Nick Collison and Steven Adams to shore up the front line. Coach Scott Brooks also has the option to downsize (presumably moving Kevin Durant from SF to PF) with players like Reggie Jackson, Caron Butler, and Derek Fisher.

Although the Thunder are a deep team, there’s no doubt that they will miss Ibaka’s presence against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. In game 1 Duncan put up 27 points and collected 7 rebounds in route to a 122-105 victory. The Spurs dominated the points in the paint, something the Thunder will have to change if they want to get back in this series.

So without Ibaka, how do you see the series going? Answer the poll or comment below with your opinion!