By John Harris |@JHBasketball
Perfect Serge Ibaka sparks OKC past Spurs; series tied 2-2:
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is usually known for his efforts on the defensive end of the floor. The Spurs discovered in Game 4 that he’s pretty handy on the other side of the ball as well. The shot-blocking expert hit all 11 of his field goal attempts and all 4 of his shots from the charity stripe for a career-high 26pts. Kendrick Perkins added 15pts as Oklahoma’s two (usually) lowest-scoring starters went crazy on the San Antonio frontline. Kevin Durant was his usual dominant self, hitting 36pts of his own and the Thunder rolled past San Antonio 109-103, leaving the Western Conference Finals wide-open going into the pivotal Game 5 on Monday night.
OKC again took energy from the raucous home crowd and pulled away to double digit leads throughout the game. However each time the Thunder looked set to put the game beyond doubt, San Antonio found a way to force their way back in. Manu Ginobili had a quietly-efficient 13pts in 24 minutes and hit some big shots to keep the Spurs close but coughed the ball up a game-high 6 times. Tim Duncan added 21pts and 8rbs but was overmatched by the contributions of the OKC front-court and the Spurs weren’t able to ride a bad game from Tony Parker (12pts on 5-15FG).
Durant, who hit all the Thunder’s 16pts points in a 7-minute 4th quarter span, had this to say after the game:
“I didn’t tell myself that I need to go score because what we were doing was working [...] We were passing the ball and guys were making shots. … I just wanted to stick with what we were doing, but it started to open up for me and I could see some lanes that gave me some opportunities to make some shots.”
- Kevin Durant
Brandon Roy may be considering a comeback with Lakers:
Multiple sources around the league are reporting that Brandon Roy — the former Portland Star who was forced to retire due to recurring knee problems — is considering a comeback, with the Lakers a potential landing spot. Roy’s retirement before this season was a huge blow to the Blazers, who have experienced a number of injury problems in recent years and seen their promising core of 2-3 years ago disintegrate leading them to miss the playoffs this year.
However it seems now that Roy is feeling a let-up in the pain he previously had in his knees, telling a Portland-area radio station last month:
“In the back of my mind, maybe this is something I may do again. But who knows? It’s something right now where I’m enjoying playing and not playing with the pain I had last year after going through two knee surgeries. I was never the fastest or the highest leaper but being smart — those are all little things I have up my sleeve if I do decide to play, those are all positives I do have going for me.”
- Brandon Roy
Roy — who won NBA Rookie of the Year in 2007 — averaged 19pts, 4ast and 4rbs for his career and will be an interesting prospect for GM’s around the league. Roy will certainly not command a large salary because of his injury problems, so which teams will be ready to hand a roster spot to Roy, knowing the risks involved?
Former Duke star, 13-year NBA veteran Laettner looking for coaching spot in the League:
Christian Laettner — who was picked 3rd overall by Minnesota in 1992 — has told a North Carolina newspaper that he’s actively looking to get on the coaching ladder in the NBA. Laettner played 13 seasons in the League with Wolves, Hawks, Pistons, Mavericks, Wizards and Heat before retiring in 2005. Although he made the All-Star team in 1997, Laettner was best known for his work at college powerhouse Duke, where he won consecutive National Titles and a number of playing awards.
Laettner is adamant about coaching at the pro level rather than going back to the NCAA, saying:
“That pro level of basketball is what you always strived to reach. That’s why I’m attracted to the pro game. I loved it, even when I was on teams that weren’t very good, I still loved it. … I think that’s what would suit me best.”
- Christian Laettner
The former NCAA Final Four MVP has been an assistant coach this past season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League and has plenty of exposure to high-level coaching, having played under one of the greatest Men’s basketball coaches of all-time in Duke and Team USA leader Mike Krzyzewski.
Shocked by OKC’s comeback in the series? Where would you like to see Roy land? Will Laettner become the latest addition to Coach K’s enormous coaching tree? Hit us up below!
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