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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

When Russell Westbrook went down in last year's playoffs, nobody was more affected than Serge Ibaka.

And that was particularly evident in the season-ending series against Memphis.

In Game 1, Ibaka went 1-of-10 from the field. In the five games, he went 26-of-69, an ugly 37 percent clip for a career 55 percent shooter.

When Kevin Durant or Reggie Jackson or anyone else kicked to Ibaka for an outlet, he rarely made Memphis' converging defense pay.

But of late, even without his All-Star point man, that hasn't been an issue.

Monday night's 86-77 win over Memphis was just the latest example.

Against that same bruising front line, playing that same aggressive blitzing style, Ibaka turned the tables.

The Grizzlies swarmed Durant at any opportunity, trapping the pick and roll and daring the Thunder's supporting cast to beat them.

Ibaka did, calmly knocking down jumpers or slipping inside for easy lay-ins.

And he did it right from the tip.

Before the first media timeout, Ibaka had six points and four rebounds. By halftime, he had 12 points and 10 rebounds, the Thunder's third double-double before the break in the past two seasons.

Overall, he went 10-of-17 from the field, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

“Teams are starting to blitz the pick and roll, get it out of my hands,” Durant said. “Serge is doing a good job of rolling, catching that thing and knocking it down.”

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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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