Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Salt Lake Serge

I've been all caught up in Matt Hasselbeck throwing for 300+ yards with a broken wrist (ouch!) in an impressive divisional road victory, but then something more unexpected happened...

The StolenSonics upset the Jazz last night in Utah!
(Prior to the game, the always witty Scott Brooks joked to the media, “We’re going to go down 10 and we’re going to see how good Jerry is coaching with a lead.” How prophetic that was. If you’re unaware, Utah has come back from double-digit second half deficits in five consecutive games to win.)

Well, the Thunder did go down by 10 in the first quarter, but then KD busted a Mike Vick and dropped his usual 30. But the real story was Serge Ibaka, who started in place for the hobbled Jeff Green at PF, and put up a career high 22pts/11reb/4blk statline. We already know Ibaka is a freak athlete who is still learning the game and improving at an exponential rate (recall OKC was an rookie Ibaka boxout/Gasol putback away from taking the Lakers to seven games last year), but last night he threw everyone off by knocking down a couple midrange jumpers without hesitation (in response to Paul Millsap's 3's... speaking of which, isn't Millsap better than Boozer if he's consistently knocking down 3's off pick and pops with Deron?)

Suddenly, the StolenSonics don't just have a raw big athlete who is already improving at rebounding, blocking shots, setting screens, and converting incredible alley-oops once a game, but if he can step out and nail a jumper every now and then, that will suddenly open up the floor for Durant and Westbrook and make this team all the more dangerous.

I'm not going to be too blinded by fanaticism, so I still say that the StolenSonics need another consistent clutch player to go alongside the NBA's highest scoring pair of players in KD and Russ. That being said, they just beat one of the best teams in the league in probably the most difficult place to play on the second night of a back to back with Ibaka playing that role, if only for one night.

Sergeballu LaMu Sayonga Loom Walahas Jonas Hugo Ibaka. Remember the name.