But how much longer will Ibaka continue to struggle offensively? Does that Game 4 miss still linger in the mind of a 23-year-old from the Republic of Congo?
“No, I don't think it is,” Perkins said. “I think Serge is probably the best mid-range post shooter in the league, so I'm pretty sure he's confident in his abilities and I'm sure we'll see more shots go in (Tuesday) night.”
To be fair, the Thunder's second-round opponent is the NBA's most physical team and Ibaka certainly could have been distracted with the awesome responsibility of defending Memphis power forward Zach Randolph (18 points, 10 rebounds).
“He just missed shots,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said of Ibaka after Monday's practice. “He missed some shots that he works on every day and he's working on it right now.”
As Brooks spoke, Ibaka was at the opposite end of the court, working feverishly on his jumper, as he does after every practice.
Perhaps Sunday was something the Grizzlies did defensively against Ibaka.
“It was great defense by us,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said sarcastically. “The guy was wide open. He missed nine shots wide open. He made one jump shot on the baseline and didn't make another jump shot. We can't count on him going 1 for 10 every game.”
Martin has recovered magnificently from his 1 for 10 outing, shooting a combined 15 for 27 (. 556) from the field and 6 for 10 (. 600) from 3-point range while averaging 25.0 points in the last two games.
What awaits Ibaka in Game 2 against Memphis on Tuesday at 8:30 p. m.?
“I believe in what he does,” Brooks said. “I believe he can make shots and we have to continue to look for him because he's an important part of what we do offensively. … That put-back, that was a tough miss, but I think it's behind him. He's just missing some shots right now.”