NBA Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma City Thunder: Serge Ibaka Continues to Slump in 2013 Playoffs

Serge Ibaka Needs Better Performance

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

You know you are in a pretty bad slump when you are having difficulty making slam-dunks. Oklahoma City Thunder forward, Serge Ibaka, missed two easy dunks in game 3 Saturday night in the Thunder’s series with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder ultimately lost the game, 87-81, falling behind in the series 2-1.

Poor shooting is starting to become a trend for Ibaka in the series with the Grizzlies. Unfortunately for the Thunder, this is a terrible sign.

The Thunder are having a hard time finding scoring options outside of their All-Star phenom, Kevin Durant. With Ibaka suddenly missing his mid-range game, which he had during the regular season, the Thunder are having difficulties putting up enough points to win games.

Even though Ibaka had double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, he had to fight through a night of dismal shooting, going 6-17 from the floor. Durant and company have been trying to encourage Ibaka throughout games and encourage him to keep taking open shots, but Ibaka is failing miserably in trying to shoot his way out of his slump.

Ibaka is shooting 13 percent lower from the field this postseason compared to his regular season percentage. He shot 57 percent during the regular season and is now shooting just 44 percent in the playoffs. His slump has certainly come at a terrible time since his team is really counting on his scoring contributions in the absence of Russell Westbrook.

If Ibaka can work his way out of his slump, the Thunder will have a much better chance of winning their series against the Grizzlies. It is difficult to imagine Ibaka continuing such bad shooting for long, considering he is usually one of the highest percentage shooters on the team.

Even though Ibaka has struggled offensively, he does deserve some credit for not letting his offensive efforts carry over to the defensive side of the ball. He is playing very good defense on Grizzlies’ forward, Zach Randolph, challenging most of his shots and forcing him to either put up low-percentage shots or give the ball up.

The Thunder will need Ibaka to contribute offensively moving forward, because if he doesn’t, this series could end very quickly.

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