“He was active,” Brooks said. “Not only was he blocking (shots), he was altering shots. And that's what we expect Serge to do. He has to rebound, block shots, contest and alter shots, and he did that a very high level.”
With point guard Russell Westbrook back in the lineup and Ibaka knocking down his shots, the Thunder offense looked completely different. It went from having Kevin Durant as the sole threat in the season opener at Utah, and two with Westbrook making his debut Sunday against Phoenix, to a three-headed monster with Ibaka in the mix.
The offense was made even better by Durant's season-high 10 assists, which helped other role players become threats. Durant dished an assist to seven different players, leading to an additional 22 points to complement the game-high 23 he scored.
Ibaka dumped in eight of his points off assists from Durant and established himself as the integral offensive player that he was projected to be.
Suddenly, the Thunder's offense began clicking and most everything on that end of the court looked better.
“We just needed to play well. We didn't feel like we've played real well this season,” said Nick Collison. “So it was a really good game for us. The energy was a lot better.”