SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs were not going to believe Serge Ibaka was really injured until the Oklahoma City Thunder took the court in the opener of the Western Conference finals without their athletic big man. Their skepticism was unwarranted. Ibaka is indeed injured and Oklahoma City needs to find a way to replace his defensive presence against San Antonio. Tim Duncan had 27 points and the Spurs took advantage of Ibakas absence to score more than half their points in the paint, beating the Thunder 122-105 Monday night in the opener of the best-of-seven series. Tony Parker did not appear limited by a hamstring injury, adding 14 points and 12 assists in 36 minutes in San Antonios first victory over Oklahoma City this season. Parker and coach Gregg Popovich both said earlier they werent sure if the Thunder would actually be without Ibaka, who injured his left calf in Oklahoma Citys series clincher against the Los Angeles Clippers. "Contrary to what San Antonio was thinking, hes not coming back," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. Thats bad news for Oklahoma City entering Game 2 on Wednesday. San Antonio had 66 points in the paint and shot 58 per cent from the field. It was the highest shooting percentage allowed by the Thunder in the post-season since relocating from Seattle. The Thunder got their usual offensive output from All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who scored 28 and 25 points, respectively. But Oklahoma Citys remaining starters, Nick Collison, Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins, combined to score five points with 13 rebounds and one assist. Collison started in place of Ibaka and was 0 for 3 from the field with three rebounds and one blocked shot. Ibaka was averaging 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.23 blocks in 33.9 minutes in the post-season. "We play team defence, we dont just rely on Serge," Durant said. "He does a great job of blocking shots, but its all because of our team defence. Hes a big part of what we do. Hes a starter, had his best season this year, so of course were going to miss his presence, but we have guys that are going to step up and do it collectively." San Antonio planned to attack Oklahoma Citys interior whether Ibaka was playing or not, and found it much easier to do without the athletic 6-foot-10 forward. "We always want to try to penetrate," Parker said. "We always want our ball movement, thats how we play -- kick and pitch and stuff like that. You know, obviously its a little bit better with (Ibaka) not being in the paint, but were still going to try to penetrate and make stuff happen." The Spurs fed Duncan early and the veteran responded by scoring 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the opening quarter. Parker, who sustained a Grade 1 left hamstring strain in San Antonios series clincher against Portland, drove the paint and dished to Duncan early before looking for his own shot midway through the quarter. "Thats part of our game plan," Duncan said. "He knew that they werent going to let him shoot the ball like he did in the last series. They were going to try to take that away from him, so he knew he was going to have to be an assist man." Parker scored all but two of his points in the first half. Manu Ginobili took over in the second half, scoring all 18 of his points with a series of breakneck drives and 3-for-4 shooting on 3-pointers. "Just got to do a better job of closing the paint off," Westbrook said. "I thought we did a better job in the second half of just putting more pressure on them, making it tough for them to get inside the paint." After starting Collison and bringing in 7-foot post Steven Adams to spell him and Perkins, Oklahoma City continually altered its lineup in an attempt to derail San Antonios attack. At one point the Thunder had Westbrook and fellow point guards Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher on the court with Durant playing the post defensively. Duncan responded by dropping in a running hook on Durant. "Were going to have to find lineups that work," Brooks said. "I have faith in all of our guys to step in and do the job, no matter who we put on the floor." With the exception of a pair of free throws by Fisher, Westbrook and Durant scored all of Oklahoma Citys points in a 23-22 third quarter. The Thunder rallied to take a 76-75 lead on Westbrooks 17-foot jumper with 5 minutes left in the third quarter for their first lead since the opening basket of the game. "I think we need more from everybody defensively," Brooks said. "We scored 105 points. ... We scored enough points to win a basketball game. We have to do a better job defensively." San Antonio improved to 7-1 at home in the playoffs, winning its past five games by an average of 20.6 points. The Spurs, however, remember what happened in the 2012 conference finals, when the Thunder won four straight to rally from an 0-2 deficit. "Theyre a talented team," Ginobili said. "Theyre going to watch video; theyre going to fix mistakes. Its going to be harder for sure. Its just one down." NOTES: Durant was assessed a technical foul 30 seconds into the fourth quarter after throwing his fists down in frustration after being assessed a foul. . Boris Diaw was poked in his lower right eyelid early in the game, but returned to shortly thereafter once it was determined there was no structural damage. . Play had to be stopped twice to clean up blood on Collison, who was battling Duncan and Splitter defensively. Anthony Mason Knicks Jersey
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. The win puts the final playoff berth in Group A in question. If the Czechs beat Slovakia on Tuesday, they will go through. If they lose, Germany will get the last quarter-final berth.BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Striker Carlos Tevez was left out of Argentinas preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup on Tuesday. Despite having just led Juventus to the Italian league title as the teams top scorer, Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella ignored pleas from Tevez passionate fan base in Argentina. Sabella has never called up the hard-working striker since taking charge of the national team in 2011. Instead hes put his faith in Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio as substitutes for star attackers Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero. All were included in Sabellas initial 30-player squad, which will be reduced to a final 23 by a FIFA deadline of June 2. The 30-year-old Tevez has scored 19 goals in the Italian Serie A this season. "I am sorry I had to leave out good players," Sabella said, without mentioning names. He also excluded veteran midfielder Esteban Cambiasso of Inter Milan but included Manchester Citys Martin Demichelis, who hasnt played for the national team for two years. While Argentinas attack is among the worlds strongest, the team looks weaker at the back. Sergio Romero remains Sabellas first-choice goalkeeper even though hes not a regular starter for French club Monaco. Mariano Andujar of Catania and Agustin Orion of Boca Juniors were called up as Romeros backups in the preliminary squad. Sabella included central defenders Federico Fernandez and Ezequiel Garay along with fullbacks Pablo Zabaleta and Marco Roja.dddddddddddd Boca Juniors midfielder Fernando Gago was selected despite receiving a knee injury last month. Gago damaged a ligament in his left knee last month in the Argentine league. The midfield lineup also includes Javier Mascherano, Angel Di Maria and Ever Banega. ------ Argentina: Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Monaco), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors). Defenders: Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Jose Basanta (Monterrey), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Nicolas Otamendi (Atletico Mineiro), Lisandro Lopez (Getafe), Gabriel Mercado (River Plate). Midfielders: Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Ever Banega (Newells Old Boys), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Maxi Rodriguez (Newells Old Boys), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Enzo Perez (Benfica), Fabian Rinaudo (Catania), Jose Sosa (Atletico Madrid). Forwards: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris Saint-Germain), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Franco Di Santo (Werder Bremen). Cheap Jerseys Online Wholesale Black NFL Jerseys Youth NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping
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