Dime on Serge Ibaka last night: “Right after Kevin Durant’s showcase of savage bucketry, it was Serge Ibaka who almost got the Thunder over the hump against the Spurs last night. Throughout the fourth quarter, Ibaka was giving Tim Duncan all kinds of problems on the defensive end: taking charges, poking the ball away, and swatting his shots. And with every big play, Ibaka (10 pts, 8 rebs, 3 blks) would pump up the crowd and had OKC’s arena on the verge of exploding.”
Scott Brooks talking about the design of the last play. Brooks said KD got the ball “where we wanted” and that Durant made the right decision passing out of it. Of course, I agree.
Stein’s power rankings have OKC at eight: “OKC has set the bar so high that you didn’t know how to react when it finally threw in a stinker in Indy. It was only the fifth L in 23 games for a team whose leading rebounder — Durant — averages a whopping 7.5 rpg.”
NBA.com drops OKC to 10th: “Just three of their final 14 games are against losing teams, so Sunday’s game in Indiana was one the Thunder needed. Instead, it was their worst defensive performance of the season. They’ve got the Spurs, Rockets, Blazers and Lakers in town this week.”
SI at 10: “The Thunder can’t afford to take nights off like they did Sunday in a 20-point loss to Indiana, not with fourth and eighth place in the West separated by 3½ games. “We can’t stop what we’re doing,” Scott Brooks told The Oklahoman. “We can’t just say, ‘We’re here. We’ve arrived.’ We have to keep bringing effort and keep finding ways to improve our team.”
Ian Thompson writes about five innovations that could change the NBA: “Tracking the players’ every movement could open up a new world of statistics. “We could use it to analyze ‘contested shots,’ which is one of the most important stats,” Hellmuth said. “The key to that stat is the shooting percentage of the player who is being contested. If Andrei Kirilenko is contesting the shots and the opponent is shooting 20 percent, then you can say he is the best defender; but if someone else is contesting and the opponents are shooting 48 percent, then he’s not being effective.”
Scott Brooks dismissed the Jay-Z distraction: “Several Thunder players attended a Jay-Z concert in Indianapolis on Saturday night before Oklahoma City gave up its most points of the season in a 121-101 loss to the Pacers in a matinee game the following afternoon. But coach Scott Brooks said all the players were back at a reasonable hour and he doesn’t enforce a firm curfew. ”I trust our guys. They’ve given me no reason not to trust them,” Brooks said. ”Our guys are very professional and they really take their jobs serious and they have a lot of pride in our team. If it ever became a problem, which I don’t see it, then I would address it. But no issues with that whatsoever.”
Magic Number Watch: OKC obviously lost, but so did Houston so the number sits at eight for both Memphis and Houston.