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Warriors battered center rotation struggles to contain Serge Ibaka – The San Francisco Examiner


DeMarcus Cousins and Kevon Looney, coming off injury, can’t keep up with Toronto’s backup center
OAKLAND — Slipping a screen set for Kawhi Leonard on the right wing, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka received a pass in the lane as Warriors forward Andre Iguodala closed out to prevent an uncontested jump shot.
After a smooth give-and-go with point guard Kyle Lowry, Ibaka found himself staring at a clear lane, resulting in a two handed slam that gave the Raptors a 14-point lead with 6:22 to play in the fourth quarter.
For most of Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night, Ibaka, who had his best game of the series, served as a question that Golden State could not answer. Trying to combat Ibaka’s productivity with a battered center rotation, the Warriors found no success, resulting in a 105-92 loss.
“I think we kind of messed up our coverages a little bit on him,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “You’ve got to give him credit. He knocked down some shots.”
For the Warriors, in the midst of their most injury-riddled postseason run over the last five years, the center position has, perhaps, seen the worst of trauma thanks to a torn quadricep for DeMarcus Cousins and a non-displaced first costal cartilage fracture for Kevon Looney.
While Cousins made his return to the court in Game 1 after nearly seven weeks of rehab, Looney’s first game back from what is usually an eight-week injury came Friday, after missing only one game.
Initially, it was thought that Looney would be unavailable for the remainder of the Finals, but a second opinion on the injury changed that outlook for the better.
In Cousins’ case, his double-double in Game 2 propelled the Warriors to a 109-105 win in Toronto, but since then, he’s looked lost on several occasions, including the first two minutes of Friday night’s game, during which he turned the ball over three times in six possessions.

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