UPDATE: Serge Ibaka will start for the Thunder against the Spurs in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
It appears that all is not lost when it comes to Serge Ibaka in the 2014 Western Conference Finals. It was once thought the Oklahoma City Thunder power forward would be out for the rest of the playoffs, but now his status has been upgraded to day-to-day.
So, would an Ibaka return be enough to get the Thunder back on track in the WCF?
Given that there’s no way he could be at 100 percent upon his return, the easy answer is no. It’s not like the Thunder have been this close in the first two games — they’ve gotten handled in both contests, including a massive beatdown in game two.
The San Antonio Spurs just appear to be the better team. They’re coming together at the right time and hitting their stride when it counts most. Even though the Spurs are old at their core, they still seem fresh so far in the WCF, and that won’t change given the ridiculous amount of time between games.
Is a 60 percent Ibaka better than a 100 percent Kendrick Perkins? Yeah. But a 60 percent Ibaka is certainly not enough to put the Thunder over the top against the high-flying Spurs.
The only thing that can save OKC is a few MVP-caliber performances from Kevin Durant. He has to throw the Thunder on his back for the rest of the series and go above and beyond. But even with multiple big games from KD, it’s just hard to see OKC turning things around. Stranger things have happened, and series don’t really start until a home team loses, but it would be shocking if SA didn’t take one on the road in over the next two games.