Thunder-Spurs Game 3 Quoteboard
OKLAHOMA CITY -
Reactions from both teams after Oklahoma City's 106-97 Game 3 victory against San Antonio:
Serge Ibaka — Thunder power forward
On his performance:
"Oh man, first I just want to thank God. If I'm here, it's because of him; I want to thank him and I want to thank all the Thunder fans, I know they were praying for me while I was hurt. I want to thank them and I want to thank my teammates, they gave me the confidence tonight to do what I did."
On his first quarter and settling in quickly:
"I was so nervous but you couldn't really tell. But, like I said earlier, I just want to thank my teammates for their poise and getting me going early in the game. KD, Perk, Reggie, I will never forget what they did for me tonight. It was very special."
On his physical comfort level and his the lingering pain from his injury:
"My pain is my pain. I'm not going to be here to talk about the pain, the most important thing is that we got the win tonight and my focus is on the next game."
On if he could tell he gave the Thunder a big emotional lift:
"You tell me. I was just trying to do my job, stay focused, and do the best I could to help my team."
Serge said he expects to feel sore tomorrow morning...
On what his minutes will be moving forward:
"Depends on how I feel. I feel I cannot really go, I will take the coach to take me out if it is best for the team. We will tell day by day."
Kevin Durant — Thunder small forward
On the lineup changes taking pressure off him and Russell Westbrook and intensifying the team's effort overall:
"It definitely helped having a lineup change. Having Serge back is a plus and then having another attacker on the floor in Reggie (Jackson), somebody that can create for everybody and also create for himself is good. I think the biggest thing that changed was the intensity on the defensive end. We still turned the ball over more than we should have, but I think we always had great intensions and we moved the ball from side to side well tonight."
On his reaction to Serge waving off the coaching staff when he came up limping in the second half:
"Well, when you talk about a teammate, that's everything you want your teammate to embody is a guy who gives himself up for the team, gives his body up for the team. No matter how this game would have went tonight, I gained so much more respect for Serge tonight for laying it on the line for us; putting his body out there and sacrificing his health for the betterment of the team. I'm glad we won the basketball game, but no matter what would have happened tonight, that's something you want to have beside you every single day."
Russell Westbrook — Thunder point guard
On the difference Reggie Jackson made in the starting lineup:
"He did a great job of just attacking, man. It gives me the opportunity to play off the ball a little bit, move around, just find a way to help my team win. Reggie did a great job of just playing the game, being aggressive, finding guys, rebounding and just being Reggie."
On what the Thunder did differently to shut down Tony Parker:
"Just putting pressure on him. You know, we just did a better job of just staying with him, not giving him much space. I know he likes a lot of space and likes a lot of free movement. My job was to stay with him all night long and try to make him feel my body, my size and make him do some tough shots."
Kendrick Perkins — Thunder center
On whether the team knew that Ibaka would be so effective upon his return:
"We seen it for the last couple of days. He was moving real well. We watched him on his individual workouts and we knew he was moving well but we always knew he could should. It just helped us for him to come out the way he did."
On the lift Ibaka's return gave the team:
"Huge lift. I mean, any time you can get a guy back, it just brings the chemistry back. You could tell guys were over playing guys and guys were more aggressive on the ball. Serge just came back and we went from there."
On the confidence the Thunder gained with the victory:
"A lot of confidence but we got to stay humble and take it one game at a time. We just won one game."
Jeremy Lamb — Thunder shooting guard
On taking advantage of his increased playing time on Sunday:
"It felt good just to be out there competing with my teammates. They always say, ‘stay ready, stay ready,' and my number was called tonight and I was just excited I was able to compete with them and make some things happen."
Scott Brooks — Thunder head coach
"I liked how our defense got better as the game went on. We were active, did a good job of helping for one another. Our bigs did a great job protecting the paint, protecting the basket, but that's what they do. They've done that all year. Obviously Serge came in and gave us a big lift, not only on the defensive end but on the offensive end. Our offense was really good in the first half and then I thought our defense did a really good job in the second half of really keeping them from getting easy buckets."
On the Thunder's improvement in closing out on the Spurs shooters:
"To hold this team to under 40 percent shooting is a tough challenge but we did it tonight. We played great defense. We did it one game. We've got to come back and do the same thing in a couple of nights. That's not easy to do, they have a good point guard, they have good bigs, the have good shooters, but you have to be able to have multiples efforts every possession; we talk about that. It's not just coach talk, it's real talk. We have to be able to do that all the time ... if you want to beat (the Spurs), you have to have the maximum effort for 48 minutes."
On the massive improvement shown by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from Game 2 to Game 3:
"(I liked) their ability to continue to lead us. What they do on the practice floor, in the locker room, in huddles is growing day by day, year by year. They've done a good job of leading us. They're great players and they're going to be great players for a lot of years. But the thing that I love is their improvement over the years in their leadership. They have to continue to empower and continue to make their teammates better, and that's what the great ones do. I thought they did a great job with that tonight."
On why he made wholesale changes to the lineup by inserting Jackson and Ibaka into the starting lineup:
"I knew that we were a better team than losing by 30, 35, 33? 30s. That's not us. I mean, other than it was us that night, we're a much better team than that. I have a lot of respect for San Antonio, but they're not that much better than us and we knew that. We wanted to play a better basketball game. I thought the guys were prepared. The guys I threw in there — Serge obviously gave us an emotional and a playing boost. He's a good player. He helps our offense, he spreads the floor. You have to be able to guard his jump shot and he does a good job of rolling and catching around the basket. And defensively he blocks and alters shots."
On if Reggie Jackson will remain in the starting lineup this series:
"What do you think?"
Gregg Popovich — Spurs head coach
On the impact Serge Ibaka had, particularly his defense in the paint:
"Serge is always great in the paint. He blocks shots. He changes shots. He did a fine job."
On Manu Ginobili leaving the game with an apparent injury in the fourth quarter:
"He'll be fine ... I mean, he's out for the rest of the playoffs (laughs). 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 Sammy (Sam Presti) gets that."
Manu Ginobili — Spurs shooting guard
On the Spurs' poor defensive showing, particularly in the first half:
"Yeah, we were pretty bad. Sometimes the opponent scores because they are talented and because it can happen. They are good players; they are very talented, but the amount of mistakes that we made in the first half were way too many for a Conference Finals. So we didn't bring the concentration and the aggressiveness today and they made us pay.
"They are not a team that if you just give them a half or if you just trot down the court they're going to let it go. We know that to beat them, especially here, we've got to bring our ‘A-game,' play really hard for 48 minutes and be mentally prepared. Today we were a little lagging."
On what Oklahoma City did that allowed them to play so much better on both sides of the floor:
"It was a combination of things. They really needed this game. They knew that nobody has ever come back from a 3-0 (playoff series deficit) and they brought all the emotion. I think we took the first hit pretty well. Going into the half we were down two or something and not playing well; we were OK. We took the hit fine, we just couldn't sustain it. We didn't bring the aggressiveness that they brought. They killed us on the boards. That was a huge difference and we, as I said before, we were a little slower. We didn't find the teammates open outside as we did in the previous two games. So there were too many mistakes that combined to give us this result."
On Serge Ibaka's impact on the game:
"He was incredible. For having sat for a while and being considered out, he started the game hot. He made a few jumpers, we had to adjust ... for sure he's a great player and he provided them with a lot of things, not only mid-range shots but defense. He really helped them."
Tim Duncan — Spurs power forward
On Serge Ibaka's impact:
"He played great. I think overall their entire team played better. Obviously at home they used their energy, his return and all of that, and they put us on our heels. We didn't respond well, we turned the ball over too many times. Their energy and their defense picked up and, obviously, like I said, Ibaka played well."
On San Antonio's inability to knock down open shots:
"It's a combination of everything. We give them a lot of credit, but we see a lot of things we could easily clean up and hopefully come out with a much better effort."