It took one game to see how big of an impact Serge Ibaka’s injury would have on the Western Conference finals. Amidst a 122-105 blowout in favor of the San Antonio, the Spurs impact was made in the area where Ibaka’s impact is made the most: in the paint.
Of the 122 points scored, 66 of those points came from in the paint. To add perspective of how well the Spurs attacked the rim, especially not having to worry about Ibaka’s shot-blocking abilities, the Spurs scored 16 points on the fastbreak. This means at least 50 of the Spurs paint points came in half court sets. In comparison, the Thunder scored 32 points in the paint, 11 coming on the fastbreak.
According to the Spurs shot chart, they shot 43 points in the restricted area, making 31. For those who aren’t extremely sharp at math, that’s 72.1 percent made shots in the area.
During the regular season, Ibaka had a huge hand in the Thunder sweeping the Spurs 4-0. Here is a chart that illustrates Ibaka’s impact on San Antonio during the regular season:
Ibaka On the Floor
Ibaka Off the Floor
|Restricted Area FG%||48.0%||61.9%|
It’s going to take a lot of adjusting for Scott Brooks to find a way to replicate Ibaka’s presence. It won’t be easy as he lacks the personnel to do so. Steven Adams has shown the ability to intimated players at the rim, but he’s still coming along as a player. Many people question Brooks’ coaching ability, but if he wants to hush the naysayers, finding a better way to protect the rim going forward will do so.