After spending less than six minutes on the floor in the LA Clippers' last outing, Serge Ibaka is expected to miss Friday night's Game 3 showdown with the Dallas Mavericks, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Ibaka was initially considered questionable to take the floor after tweaking his back in Game 2, but it didn't seem that the veteran big man was in the best shape. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said he was "hurting pretty bad" on Thursday, but at the time, he was still expected to be a game-time decision.
Lue confirmed the report before the game.
Ibaka has spent just 19 minutes on the floor in this series, but his time has been valuable. The 31-year-old was a net positive in Games 1 and 2, picking up at least one block in each contest.
The Clippers could look to former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to fill Ibaka's limited role in the series, but given Cousins' limitations on the defensive end of the floor, it seems more likely that LA will attempt to go small with one of Nicolas Batum or Marcus Morris Sr. at the five.
Fans should also look for Terance Mann to enter the rotation on Friday night. After spending 15 minutes on the floor in Game 2, Lue said the 24-year-old swingman had earned himself more time in the series.
Regardless of how the Clippers adjust to Ibaka's absence, the team must find a way to win in Game 3. LA already dropped Games 1 and 2 at home, and no team in NBA history has ever come back to win a series after facing a 3-0 deficit.
The LA Clippers and Dallas Mavericks will take the floor at 6:30 p.m. PT.