Ibaka was finally able to find rhythm in his shot and ended a series-long slump that had been plaguing the Thunder. He had 17 points on 6-of -7 shooting Monday night, along with 14 rebounds and three blocks.
Now that the Thunder are in a 3-1 series hole against the Grizzlies, the Thunder will need Ibaka to have more games like Monday night. The Thunder are on the brink of elimination, and the performance of Ibaka could be the catalyst to pulling off the comeback of historic relevance.
Before Monday night, he was a combined 12-of-39 shooting in the series with the Grizzlies. He was missing wide-open jumpers, layups and even dunks.
To his credit, Ibaka did not let the slump affect his aggressiveness. He was still taking his shots, while also continuing to play great defense on the Grizzlies’ bigs. He has given Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph trouble with his defensive efforts. If it were not for his great defensive showings, the Thunder could have very well been blown out by the Grizzlies in a few of the games.
The Thunder are in a tight spot down 3-1 in the series, and other players will have to step up with Kevin Durant to move forward. History has shown that not many teams can come back in the scenario the Thunder are in, but until this Thunder team has lost four games in a series, they can never be counted out.