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Serge Ibaka might not play for Clippers in Game 3 because of back spasms -

Serge Ibaka might not play for Clippers in Game 3 because of back spasms


Trailing 2-0 in their first-round series to Dallas, the Clippers might need to shuffle their rotation a few times Friday — one by their choosing, and another not.

Back spasms have left backup center Serge Ibaka questionable to play in Game 3 in Dallas. Ibaka played just six minutes during a Game 2 loss at Staples Center, but after the 127-121 loss, he returned to the court for conditioning drills. Ibaka began experiencing spasms Thursday morning, before the team’s flight to Texas, coach Tyronn Lue said.

Ibaka missed 30 games because of what he called a pinched nerve in his back and said he was not fully healthy upon his return to the lineup in the regular season’s penultimate game. Lue called Ibaka’s availability a game-time decision.


“He’s hurting pretty bad,” Lue said.

The Clippers’ starting lineup has also not looked fully operational, having been outscored by 18 points by Mavericks starters in 19 minutes. Lue implied those struggles will lead to a change for Game 3.

“Something needs to be done,” Lue said.


The Clippers are the 39th higher seed to fall behind 2-0 in a best-of-seven series since the playoffs expanded in 1984. In the 38 previous instances, only six of the higher seeds came back to win the series. Making their rally potentially more difficult will be the atmosphere inside American Airlines Center for Games 3 and 4, where more than 16,000 fans are expected to attend to watch Luka Doncic’s first playoff game in front of Mavericks fans.

“I think when you’re down 2-0 … it shows what you’re made of,” Lue said. ” Our toughness and all year, just trust, sticking together. And then this is going to show us tomorrow who we are and what we are made of. So I’m excited to see.”

Lue said that “urgency is the right word” to describe the Clippers’ attitude.


“In terms of the vibe of the locker room, it’s still positive, still know we’ve got a lot of basketball left to play, nothing negative, nothing like that,” wing Terance Mann said. “We are still locked in very much.”

Dallas listed forward Maxi Kleber as questionable to play because of a sore right Achilles. Kleber has been Kawhi Leonard’s primary defender throughout the series, and was also listed as questionable for Game 2 before ultimately scoring 13 points. J.J. Redick remains out because of an Achilles injury.

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