Serge Ibaka not in Scott Brooks' doghouse
Scott Brooks assured Monday that he doesn't have a doghouse.
And if he did, the Oklahoma City Thunder coach said Serge Ibaka wouldn't be in it.
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So don't read anything into Ibaka's 22 minutes over the past two games. Brooks insists Ibaka's lack of playing time stems mostly from unfavorable matchups against Washington and Miami, but also a disappointing effort against the Heat.
“He's not in the doghouse,” Brooks said. “It's just, do you want him to guard LeBron James? He can't guard LeBron.”
In a 108-103 win over the Thunder, the Heat played several stretches of small ball, spacing the floor with shooters and playing James at power forward. James eventually scored 23 points with a game-high 13 assists and four rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots.
“Really, no one on our team did a good job on him, so maybe I should have tried (Ibaka),” Brooks joked.
When asked why Ibaka couldn't play at center, Brooks said he preferred Nick Collison.
“You want to take Nick out?” Brooks asked. “He took three charges. He rebounds. He sets great screens.”
Against the Wizards last Friday, Ibaka played just 13 minutes. Washington's starting center JaVale McGee missed the game due to illness, and starting power forward Andray Blatche was saddled with foul trouble all night and played only 30 minutes of the double-overtime nail biter. When the Wizards went small, Ibaka went to the bench.
On Sunday, Ibaka looked lethargic in his first 5 minutes, 39 seconds. He failed to snare a rebound, take a shot or swat a shot. He registered two fouls over that span before sitting the entire third quarter and playing only 3 1/2 minutes of the final period.
His nine minutes set a season low.
“I didn't like the energy that he brought to the game,” Brooks said. “But he knows that. He's going to come back Wednesday night and play much better. I need him to play better while he's in there, and he will.”