James Harden came around a screen and drove the lane like we've seen him do so many times.
We know how that play usually ends.
But not on this night.
Not with Serge Ibaka standing guard.
Only a few minutes into this playoff series, Ibaka rose up and spiked Harden's shot into The Peake hardwood. It didn't dent the floor, but it sure seemed like it could've.
“I heard him scream a little bit with it,” Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins said.
On a night the Thunder beat the Rockets 120-91 and sent a strong message about the kind of series this will be, no one made a clearer statement than Ibaka.
He played as good an all-around game as anyone in Thunder blue. He was active on defense. He was deadly on offense.
“He played well for them,” Houston coach Kevin McHale said.
That's an understatement.
Check out these numbers: 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.
If Ibaka's going to play this way, this is going to be a short series.
The Rockets have no one to match Ibaka if he replicates what he did Sunday night. They already have their hands full with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but if Ibaka's going to score like this, so effectively and so efficiently, they have no hope.
Sunday night, he scored on putbacks, being strong with the ball around the rim. He hit jumpers. He even nailed a corner 3-pointer.
“It's just confidence,” Ibaka said. “I work every day, and my teammates did a great job to find me when I was open.”
But, of course, for as good as Ibaka was on offense, he was his normal dominant self on defense.
And that's no easy task against Houston.
The Rockets play small a bunch, and that puts Ibaka at a disadvantage. He ends up guarding players who are much smaller and quicker than he is.
That tends to draw him away from the paint, where he dominates.
“It's a challenge for all of us when they go small,” Thunder defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha said. “But I think he does a great job. He's got a quickness on his feet.
“It's a challenge, but he can definitely do a good job at it.”
He sure did Sunday night.
“I thought he did a great job today of picking and choosing when to help and when not to help,” Perk said of his interior running mate.
The results were obvious. The Rockets never seemed to get comfortable on offense, never looked completely settled.
They shot just 36.3 percent.
“We didn't have a whole lot of flow tonight offensively,” McHale said.
Ibaka was no small part of that.
Sure, some of that was nerves — a bunch of the Rockets were playing their first ever playoff game Sunday night — but some of that was the shot blocker patrolling the lane.
Ibaka made his presence felt early and often Sunday night.
It might only be the start in this series.