Ibaka was expected to miss the remainder of the season due to a calf strain, but he returned to the court on Sunday to contribute 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in a 106-97 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
"When you talk about a teammate, that's everything you want in a teammate," Durant told reporters. "I gained so much more respect for Serge for sacrificing himself for the team.
"Regardless of what happened tonight, that's something you want beside you."
The Thunder head into game four on Tuesday trailing the Spurs 2-1.