Thunder’s Ibaka reportedly still holding out hope of playoff return

Serge Ibaka finished second in the league in blocks per game.

 

Troy Taormina/Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t rule Serge Ibaka out just yet.

Hours after the Thunder lost to the Spurs in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Oklahoma City’s shot-blocking power forward is still holding out hope of returning from a calf injury, Yahoo Sports reports.

Ibaka, who finished second in the league with 2.70 blocks per game, is thinking about beginning some stationary shooting late this week, according to the report.

Ibaka suffered the injury against the Clippers in the previous round of the playoffs, and the Thunder said he would be out for the remainder of the playoffs. But that didn’t stop the Spurs from wondering before Game 1 if that really was the case.

"I don’t believe it," Tony Parker said. "I’ll believe it when I see it."

With Ibaka out of the lineup Monday night, the Spurs had their way offensively in Game 1, shooting 58 percent from the field and outscoring the Thunder 66-32 in the paint.

"Serge is out," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after the Game 1 defeat. "He’s not coming back. We have to play better. We have to play better. If we expect to beat one of the best teams in basketball, and a very good offensive team, we have to play and we’re not going to make an excuse."