OKLAHOMA CITY – The Thunder features the NBA’s most explosive scoring trio. Serge Ibaka isn’t part of that group.
You wouldn’t know that by watching Game 1 of this series.
Ibaka exploded for 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting in the Thunder’s 99-98 win. Yes, the same Serge Ibaka who averaged 9.1 points per game and had a season high of 20.
How can the Mavs keep the Thunder’s complementary offensive threat from killing them?
“Well, we’ll try to take away his 3s,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle deadpanned.
OK, so the shot from the top of the arc that Ibaka drilled before the halftime buzzer was only the third 3-pointer of the high-flying power forward’s career. Ibaka has nice touch on his midrange game, but, as usual, he did the vast majority of his damage around – and above – the rim.
“We don’t want to let him dunk the ball easily around the basket,” Carlisle said. “There are things we can do.”