Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was announced as NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday afternoon, narrowly beating out Miami's LeBron James and Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.
Ibaka led the league in blocked shot per game for the second straight season and in total blocks for the third straight year.
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, who won the award three straight seasons (2008-11), said Ibaka should have been this year's “clear-cut” winner.
Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins tweeted: “I'm not hating but the NBA just give awards away. Serge don't get defensive player of the year. That don't make any sense.”
Ibaka finished runner-up to New York center Tyson Chandler last season.
Ibaka provided further proof for the award by turning in another solid game in the opening-round series against the Houston Rockets, finishing with 12 points (5 for 6 shooting), 11 rebounds and six blocks in Wednesday's 105-102 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
For the series, Ibaka has 29 points, 18 rebounds and nine blocked shots.
“Serge has improved every year like a lot of our guys,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
As the third quarter was about to start, Houston starting point guard Jeremy Lin, grimacing in pain, pulled himself from the lineup with a right shoulder contusion.
He sat the entire second half, and his status for Game 3 on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. is uncertain.
“This is easily the most frustrating thing that's happened this entire season,” Lin told the Houston Chronicle. “I've been healthy all season. The second half of a playoff game, on the road, we're playing well, Game 2, it's just … yeah, it speaks for itself.