The Thunder’s Serge Ibaka has already pledged $315,000 to a UNICEF project for the renovation and expansion of two orphanages in his hometown of Brazzaville, Congo.
But more money is on the way, because one of the league’s best shot-blockers is donating $500 more for every one of his blocks this postseason.
And because of this generous act, Ibaka has received the April Kia Community Assist Award, which recognizes chartable efforts across the league.
“It was my dream when I was young to help those orphanages,” Ibaka said in a release. “My mom died when I was seven and I know how hard it is for those kids in the street, how they live, what they need, so that is why I want to work with UNICEF to do the best I can to help them.”
Ibaka will be presented with the award at an upcoming playoff game. On behalf of Ibaka, Kia and the NBA will donate $10,000 to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
BENO UDRIH SURPRISES
On paper, the backup point guard battle in this series — Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson against Memphis’ Beno Udrih — is a severe mismatch.
And it played out that way on Monday night. But not the way you’d expect.
Udrih effectively played the role of random Thunder killer, dropping 14 points (or the same amount as the entire Thunder bench) in 14 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting.
“Beno really stepped up and played well for them,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It allowed (Mike) Conley some rest.”
Jackson, meanwhile, struggled. He went 0-of-5 shooting in his 14 minutes, forcing Thunder coach Scott Brooks to go with different options down the stretch.
“Reggie had a great game (in Game 1),” Brooks said. “He just didn’t shoot well tonight. I believe in him.”
THABO SEFOLOSHA BIG IN EXTENDED MINUTES
In Game 1, Thabo Sefolosha was relatively quiet in only 11 minutes.
But on Monday, the Thunder’s starting small forward was given an extended run, playing 32 minutes and much of the fourth quarter and overtime.
And he rewarded Brooks’ trust, coming up with two of the biggest steals of the night — one leading to a late Kevin Durant dunk and the other giving OKC a chance toward the end of overtime.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The teams are a combined 19-of-67 from three in the series. That’s 28 percent. Not a series for the sharpshooters.
Game 3 is on Thursday night in Memphis. The Grizzlies have won 14 straight at the place they refer to as The Grindhouse. OKC must beat them once there to ensure a series win. Tip is at 7 p.m. on TNT.