Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins said Oklahoma City has done “a great job” adjusting to life without Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, but the true test has yet to come.
“I think where you're going to see the value of James Harden is come playoff time,” Collins said before Friday night's 109-85 loss to OKC at Chesapeake Energy Arena. “James Harden in so many instances was their point guard. ... In the playoffs, you need as many playmakers as possible. Kevin Martin (acquired in the Harden trade with Houston) can really score that ball, but he plays off other guys. I think people don't realize that James Harden last year made more free throws in the fourth quarter than anybody in the NBA. So you put him at the free-throw line, you put (Kevin) Durant at the free-throw line and you put (Russell) Westbrook there, those are easy points.
“So I think (the playoffs) is when you'll get a true gauge, but they've done a great job.”
IBAKA NO BLOCKA
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka leads the NBA in blocked shots and has at least one block in every game except two this season – and both games were against Philadelphia.
Ibaka finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds (six offensive) Friday against the Sixers. He had 18 points and nine rebounds (eight offensive) in the season's previous victory at Philadelphia on Nov. 24.
“He's always been a pretty good defensive rebounder,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Ibaka. “Now, I think this year we've challenged him. Give him credit, he's locking in on the offensive side of the rebounds. He has quickness, he has strength, and he has jumping ability to get offensive rebounds. He just has to go every time, and I think now he's going every time. If you go 10 times, you might get one. If you go zero times, you're going to get zero. He's going every time, and they're adding up.”