NBA Oklahoma City Thunder

2013 NBA Playoffs: Serge Ibaka Needs Better Performance For Oklahoma City Thunder

Serge Ibaka Needs Better Performance

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder gave up another big lead in game 4 of their series with the Houston Rockets, ultimately losing the game 105-103.

The game went to the final play of the game when the Thunder had possession of the ball down two with 12 seconds left in the game. Serge Ibaka got the rebound off a Reggie Jackson miss and had a clear shot to tie the game, but missed the layup after fumbling the basketball.

Ibaka fell to the floor in disbelief. The Thunder somehow gave away a game that should have been won.

Ibaka’s missed shot at the end of the game pretty much summed up his performance for the night. He was 3-of-8 from the field with just eight points, five rebounds, two assists, and three blocks.

When asked about his performance, Ibaka was quick to let it be known that he was just was hard on himself as anyone.

“I couldn’t sleep last night, man, it happened. It’s been tough on me. It was my first time to be in that position,” Ibaka said. “For me, it was my first time to be in that position. It didn’t happen, so now I know how it feels and I’ll move on. My focus is now on tomorrow’s game.”

Ibaka will certainly have to improve his performance going forward, especially with the absence of the Thunder’s All-Star point guard, Russell Westbrook. The Thunder have relied greatly — maybe too greatly — on the performance of Durant in their last two games.

The Thunder can not expect Durant to put up 40-plus points on a nightly basis. Whether it’s Kevin Martin, Thabo Sefolosha, Derek Fisher, Jackson, or Ibaka, the points have to come from somewhere.

Ibaka will have to put his sloppy game 4 performance behind him. He has proven this season that he is a tremendous shooter. The Thunder will need him if they want to make a deep run into the playoffs.

Houston’s guard, James Harden, was guarding Ibaka throughout game 4. It is pretty pathetic that Ibaka could not take advantage of the mismatch. Ibaka has about six inches and 75 pounds on Harden, and should have been looking to take advantage and calling for the ball much more.

Despite the Thunder pretty much giving away game 4 to the Rockets, they still have a demanding 3-1 series lead. The Thunder will need to gather themselves before heading into game 5 in Oklahoma City. If they take care of business, they will be able to put away this Rockets team behind an electric and energizing home crowd.

Game 5 is in Oklahoma City at 9:30 ET.

Jared Porter is an Oklahoma City Thunder writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @JaredRyanPorter, or add him on Facebook