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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Serge Ibaka walked slowly and carefully, but without a limp, before facing reporters Saturday afternoon. Much has been made of the Oklahoma City defensive stars absence in the first two games of the Western Conference finals series against the San Antonio Spurs. The 6-foot-10 power forward strained his left calf in the previous playoff series, and the Thunder said they expected him to be out for the playoffs. The team changed course Friday and declared him day-to-day. He worked out Saturday, but he didnt practice before addressing the media for the first time since his outlook changed. With Ibaka, the leagues leading shot blocker, the Thunder were one of the best defensive teams the NBA. Without him, the Spurs shot at least 50 per cent in the first two games of the Western Conference Finals and won them by a combined 52 points. As he stood for the five-minute session wearing a black compression sock over the calf, he deflected claims that he could be a saviour heading into Game 3 on Sunday. "Ive been hearing a lot of people saying my team lost two games because I was out," he said. "Thats not true. I believe in my guys. I believe in my teammates. They can be better with me or without me. Its no excuse because Serge Ibaka was not there. Just San Antonio, the first two games, they played better basketball." Ibaka said he sometimes screamed at his television set when he watched scenarios in which he could have made plays during the losses. He is not sure if he will play in Game 3 -- he said it is up to doctors, and much will depend on how he feels in the morning. For now, he will depend largely on rest, ice and luck. His presence is needed, even if he is less than fully healthy. Kendrick Perkins, Nick Collison and Perry Jones have struggled against the Spurs big men. Kevin Durant, normally a small forward, has played some power forward in the series because of Ibakas absence, and his relative lack of physical strength and unfamiliarity with playing post defence has been exploited. The Spurs prepared all along as though he would return. "It gives them another hell of a player," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said, "but we are who we are and weve got to be who we are. We cant change what we do." Even if Ibaka returns, it will not fully solve Oklahoma Citys problems defending the perimeter. San Antonio has made 18 of 40 3-pointers in the series and guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are slashing into the paint with stunning frequency, often scoring or finding their teammates for open shots. The Thunder say it starts with basics. "Its just an individual effort," Perkins said. "Got to put it in your mind that you want to stop the guy in front of you, and thats it. Backside got to be ready. But the thing is when they penetrate, thats what opens those threes. Well do a better job of keeping the ball in front of us, but weve just got to be individual and youve got to want the match up." To be fair, San Antonio shares the ball like no one else. The Spurs led the league with 25.4 assists per game during the regular season. That average is up to 27.5 against Oklahoma City. Parker and Ginobili generate many of the assists, but many others come from simple ball movement. "We dont have a Durant," Ginobili said. "We dont have a Kobe (Bryant) or LeBron (James) that can go one against one and finish every single time. We need to pass the ball to find open teammates, and thats what we do, and thats what weve been doing. We all feel proud about it. We know when we have 25 assists or 30, we are much better and we try to do that every time." Because the Spurs generally have five capable scorers on the floor at a time, it forces opponents to have a greater attention to detail than usual. "Theyve got threats," Durant said. "Everybody on their team is a threat because of their offence. They move the ball. Theyve got 3-point shooters. You take away 3-point shooters, they get the role guys and they get the paint points. You take away that and they start hitting the threes. So we have to do both. We have to be able to close the paint up and get out to shooters. Easier said than done, but we can do it." The Spurs are off to a good start, but experience tells them they wont have as easy a time in Oklahoma City. And in 2012, Oklahoma City fell behind San Antonio 2-0 in the Western Conference finals before winning the series 4-2. "Weve got to know that in their arena its going to be different," Ginobili said. "Theyre going to be way more aggressive, theyre going to be pushed by their fans. We just won two games. 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