The heated exchange erupted when Ibaka grabbed the ball and threw an elbow near the back of Lopez after a made 3-pointer, at which point Lopez fell backward into Ibaka and took a swipe at the ball. Ibaka appeared to shove Lopez, and Lopez threw a punch at and missed Ibaka, who retaliated by taking a swing at Lopez, barely connecting with the head of the Chicago center.
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Orlando acquired Ibaka in a trade with Oklahoma City on draft night last June, hoping the shot-swatting power forward could improve the team’s rim protection. Also, there was a belief that Ibaka’s history of success in big games would give the youth-filled Magic another veteran leader who could make a difference on and off the floor.
Usually by this time of year, Ibaka has been on teams that have been firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt and have been looking to move up the seedings. Six times in Ibaka’s seven seasons in OKC he reached the playoffs, getting to the NBA Finals in 2012 and to the Western Conference Finals last spring. Now, he’s trying to figure out where everything went wrong for a Magic squad that hasn’t even been able to string together consecutive wins in six weeks.
However, Ibaka’s production on the glass dipped considerably to 3.8 rebounds per game during Cleveland’s sweep of Toronto in the second round. Ibaka averaged 16.5 points per game against the Cavaliers but shot 48.3 percent from the field in the series.
Consider the curious case of Serge Ibaka, a player who almost simultaneously benefitted and suffered from having to play with megastars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the past seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder. There’s certainly no shame in being a third wheel to either of those two, and often Ibaka was the best in the cheap nike NBA jerseys playing that complementary role on an OKC team that reached the NBA Finals once and the West Finals two other times.
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The heated exchange erupted when Raptors center Serge Ibaka grabbed the ball and threw an elbow near the back of Bulls center Robin Lopez after a made 3-pointer and Lopez fell backward into Ibaka and took a swipe at the ball. Ibaka appeared to shove Lopez, and Lopez threw a punch at and missed Ibaka, who retaliated by taking a swing at Lopez, barely connecting with the head of the Chicago center.
While pointing out that the roster and the playing style provide a much better fit for him, Ibaka said he will always have fond memories from his time Orlando despite the frustration experienced there on the floor.
The Orlando Magic have acquired guard-forward Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round draft pick from Toronto in exchange for forward Serge Ibaka, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.
While some might be surprised that Ibaka has morphed into being the leader of the Magic, forward Jeff Green is taking it all in and laughing. Green was on many of those Thunder teams with Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka, and he always thought that someday the versatile power forward would show the NBA how dynamic of a talent he is if he ever got his shot.
Ibaka has been something of an ironman throughout his NBA career, missing just 32 of a possible 563 games over his career with Oklahoma City and Orlando. Twice, he’s played in every game and three other times he missed four or fewer games in a season. He is highly dedicated to his fitness, eating habits and postgame recovery – things he feels have helped him stay healthy throughout his career.
Cleveland went 3-1 in the regular season against Toronto, but none of those games featured Ibaka. The Cavs won the first three meetings by a total of 11 points before Ibaka joined Toronto. He was on the Raptors when they beat Cleveland 98-83 in the teams’ regular-season finale, but he was held out of that game to rest, as were the Cavs’ three stars.