OKC Thunder: Serge Ibaka burns Grizzlies with scorching hot jumper

When Russell Westbrook went down in last year's playoffs, nobody was more affected than Ibaka. And that was particularly evident in the season-ending series against Memphis. That all changed against the Grizzlies on Monday night.
by Anthony Slater Published: February 3, 2014

Wednesday marked Ibaka's fifth game of more than 20 points in the past seven. It's the most prolific offensive stretch of his career. And it's probably the second biggest reason — beyond Durant's every night greatness — that the Thunder continues to thrive without Westbrook.

He's doing it consistently and he's doing it efficiently, shooting 50 percent or better in eight straight games, a stretch in which he's made 70 of his 112 shots (62.5 percent).

“He's just playing with confidence,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “I don't know if that's permanent or not. I hope not, if we play them some more. But he's playing with a lot of confidence, not hesitating at all.”

It's the Ibaka that didn't show up last May. It's the one that's consistently showing up these days. And it's the one that, even when Westbrook returns, needs to show up for OKC to maximize its potential come playoff-time.

Wednesday was just another positive step, burning a defense that he's traditionally had trouble cracking.

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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