After shooting just 27.5 percent and failing to score in double figures in his first three games, Thunder forward Serge Ibaka suddenly is producing like an All-Star.
In the Thunder's past six games, Ibaka has averaged 18 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots. He's made 64.3 percent of his shots over that span.
More impressively, Ibaka's averages in his past six include just one half of basketball last Wednesday against the L.A. Clippers. He was ejected just before halftime following his altercation with forward Matt Barnes. In only 16 minutes in that contest, Ibaka scored 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting and had two rebounds.
Ibaka has posted four double-doubles in the last six games, including monster games of 25 points and 17 rebounds against Washington, a career-high 27 points with 13 rebounds against Golden State and, most recently, 15 points and a career-high-tying 20 rebounds Saturday at Milwaukee.
“Serge's performance was outstanding, the way he impacted the paint with his blocks, with his altering shots and his rebounds,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks following the Thunder's 92-79 win over the Bucks. “I thought his 15 and 20 was one of his best games.”
If he can continue his current success, Ibaka has a chance to make his first All-Star appearance. Fan voting for the game's starters opened last week, and head coaches select the reserves from their respective conferences.
“If I make All-Star, it's great, but I'm not concerned about All-Star,” Ibaka said. “My mentality is to just keep playing great and my team can win.”
HOME, SWEET HOME
The Thunder will play its next six games inside Chesapeake Energy Arena starting with Monday's game against Denver.
It will be the first of two six-game homestands for the Thunder, the longest of the season.
“It's the same mentality. We're just focused on the first one. Don't worry about the second one until we finish the first,” said Brooks. “We've always done that. I don't see our mindset ever changing.”
Following the Nuggets, the Thunder will host the Clippers on Thursday, Utah on Sunday, San Antonio on Nov. 27, Golden State on Nov. 29 and Minnesota on Sunday, Dec. 1.
OKC also will play six straight at home from Feb. 20 to March 4.
The Thunder took Sunday off after returning home late Saturday night from its three-game road trip. The team will get back to work Monday morning with a shootaround session before hosting Denver at 7 p.m. ... The Thunder's 11 turnovers Saturday at Milwaukee were a season-low. In five games before Saturday's, OKC had averaged 19 turnovers, leading to 22.4 points for opponents.