Clippers' Serge Ibaka Reportedly Out for Game 3 vs. Mavs with Back Injury

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 28, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA - MAY 14:  Serge Ibaka #9 of the Los Angeles Clippers defends Josh Hall #15 of the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 14, 2021 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER:  User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka is expected to miss Game 3 of the team's first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

The Clippers are facing a 2-0 series deficit. 

According to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, Ibaka is dealing with a lingering back issue that'll keep him on the sidelines. 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Clippers C/F Serge Ibaka is expected to miss tonight’s Game 3 vs. Mavericks due to lingering back issue, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. LAC is down 2-0 entering pivotal contest in Dallas.

Ibaka averaged 11.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per night in 41 regular-season games this year. He played a combined 19 minutes in Games 1 and 2 against the Mavs, notching 10 points and four rebounds total. 

Without Ibaka in the lineup, expect Ivica Zubac, Patrick Patterson and DeMarcus Cousins to see a few more minutes than they might normally play. 

The one thing Ibaka's status doesn't change is just how important it is for the Clippers to pull off a road victory Friday night. No team in NBA history has rallied back from a 3-0 series deficit. A loss to the Mavericks in Game 3 would put L.A. in the dubious position of trying to become the first team to do so. 

Making matters worse, the Clippers are on a five-game postseason losing streak dating back to last summer. Los Angeles took a 3-1 series lead over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Semifinals before dropping the next four straight contests. 

The sooner Ibaka is able to come back, the better odds the Clippers have of ending that streak.