I wrote a few days ago about the Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka connection. When they team up it results in a very high field goal percentage for Ibaka.
The knock on Westbrook this season has been his assist numbers which are down quite a bit. Put that together with Ibaka not having the breakout year in terms of scoring that many expected and there’s a definite point of emphasis for the Thunder this year.
Oklahoma City has been criticized for not having enough scoring options on their team. Last night they beat the Phoenix Suns 115-104 with only five players scoring. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden each scored over 30 points, Ibaka had 18 and Kendrick Perkins six.
The key last night was also Westbrook having 10 assists. A couple of times when we are used to seeing Westbrook pull-up for a jump shot or forcefully attack the rim, he held up and passed off. He did so particularly well with Ibaka.
Ibaka had nine field goals made in the game and four were assisted from Westbrook. One was for a layup and the other three mid range jumpers, the shot Scott Brooks raves about Ibaka’s ability to make.
That was definitely a very good sign for the Thunder last night in their win. Ibaka’s confidence has to be growing this season leading the NBA in blocks and starting for the team with the best record in the league.
He’s not shy about taking his mid range jumper and he gets open for it quite a bit, it will just be up to Westbrook to continue finding him for it.