After a combined eight points and eight rebounds in losses to Denver and Memphis, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka had 14 points, 13 rebounds (six offensive) and five blocked shots in Friday night's 97-89 victory at Orlando.
“Serge is very prideful, and I am too about Serge's game,” Brooks said. “I wanted him to play much better. Give us some defensive energy, give us some game-changing shots, and he did that. He blocked four of five shots right at the rim. Those are point-blank layups. … He's only going to get better. He just has to keep playing with that type of force.”
Through 13 games, the Derek Fisher experiment clearly hasn't gone as planned.
Fisher is averaging 3.5 points on just 34.8-percent shooting while playing 13.7 minutes per game. He's contributed 1.1 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game while turning it over 0.5 times on average.
Despite playing the shooting guard position, Fisher has gone scoreless in three straight games and is 0 for 12 from the field (0 for 7 from 3-point range) in his past four contests. He is 8 for 25 3-pointers (32.0 percent) in his 13 appearances and hasn't made a 3-pointer since March 13.
“He hasn't shot the ball well the last few games, but he does so many other things for us,” Brooks said of Fisher. “He just knows how to play. You can't teach that overnight. It's taken many, many years for him to become the player he's become.”
Brooks on what constitutes a must-win: “I have a philosophy (that) every game is a must-win. You have to go out there and do your best and try to win the game, don't take any team for granted, don't take an opponent lightly … We've done a good job. We play every team pretty good.”