Despite being pronounced “out for the rest of the playoffs” a little over a week ago, Serge Ibaka was back in uniform Sunday night, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 106-97 victory over San Antonio and narrowing the Spurs’ Western Conference Finals lead to 2-1.
What else could Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich do, really, other than joke about the status of his own player, Manu Ginobili after Ginobili sat out the fourth quarter with a sore foot?
The normally irascible Pop, who usually seems to embrace media encounters only slightly more warmly than an unanesthetized root canal, joked that Ginobili would “be fine, or he’ll be out for the rest of the playoffs” and even he couldn’t keep a straight face. “You’ve still got to have some fun even if you lose. Come on, it’s basketball. Yeah, we wanted to win, but I want to laugh, too. Make sure [Thunder GM] Sammy [Presti] gets that.”
Ibaka missed Games 1 and 2 and then, miraculously, was upgraded to day-to-day Friday…and then started Sunday. He had 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Popovich was unsurprised, given his history with Presti when he worked in San Antonio. “I’m shocked, I’m so surprised,” Popovich said with a deadpan expression when that news hit. “Like I told you from the beginning, I know Sammy. You knew he’d be back.”
H/T SB Nation, CJZero