Serge Ibaka scored 15 points in a dramatic return from what was thought to be a season-ending left calf strain to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-97 on Sunday night in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

Russell Westbrook had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Kevin Durant added 25 points and 10 rebounds to help the Thunder cut the Spurs' lead in the series to 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday at Oklahoma City.

Ibaka started after missing the first two games of the series. The Thunder had said he likely would miss the rest of the playoffs, but the team changed course Friday.

"Obviously Serge came in and gave us a big lift not only on the defensive end but the offensive end," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

Manu Ginobili scored 23 points and Tim Duncan added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs.

Ibaka, who also had seven rebounds and four blocks, left the game with 3:17 to play and the Thunder ahead by 20 points.

The Thunder outrebounded the Spurs 52-36 after losing the battle of the boards in the first two games.

"I was very disappointed that we didn't come out with more of a foot in the neck sort of attitude," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They killed us on the boards, they beat us in 50-50 balls and that's very disappointing."

Brooks also inserted Reggie Jackson into the starting lineup, and Jackson finished with 15 points.

"We bounced back tonight. We always talk about that bounce-back ability and we had that tonight," Brooks said.


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Timberwolves: The team's search for a new coach veered wildly, when both Memphis and Dave Joerger said Joerger won't come home to Minnesota.

On Saturday, Joerger interviewed with Wolves owner Glen Taylor as a possible replacement for the retired Rick Adelman.

On Sunday, Joerger decided to remain in Memphis after Robert Pera, the team's mercurial owner, made it clear the Grizzlies intend to retain Joerger, who is contractually obligated to Memphis for the next two seasons.

Joerger led the Grizzlies to a 50-32 record and a first-round playoff loss to the Thunder in his first season as coach.

"This is where I want to be," he told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Clippers: Yao Ming said "anything is possible," amid speculation he's putting together a bid for the Los Angeles Clippers with some Chinese investors.

Bloomberg News and the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) contributed to this report.