Berry Tramel: “Yet when Ibaka sauntered onto his old court, his appearance was even more
stunning. Reality struck hard. The regal Ibaka — Serge Tall & Proud — is not supposed to be wearing Orlando pinstripes. And yet there he was, playing against, not for, Oklahoma City. Blocking Steven Adams’ shots. Fighting Enes Kanter for rebounds. Defending Westbrook on the pick-and-roll. You can read it in The Oklahoman. You can watch it on NBATV. But it doesn’t really hit home until you see it live, with your very own eyes. The band broke up. Not just Kevin Durant to Oakland, but Ibaka to Orlando. This is a new era. And Sunday was a sad day, before Ibaka reminded us of what once was. Serge had a game for the ages at Chesapeake Arena: 31 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and the game-winning basket.”
Jon Hamm of Bleacher Report: “In its six wins, Oklahoma City has a margin of victory of 10 points per game, defeating bad-to-mediocre opponents handily. Even though the Thunder whipped rebuilding teams like Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves, they also beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-96. That might be Oklahoma City’s second-best win of the season, as the Staples Center’s purple-and-gold tenants have performed better than anticipated. As expected, the Thunder’s success hinges largely on Westbrook. He’s averaging 31.9 points, 10.1 assists, and 9.2 rebounds per game. He logged this third triple-double of the season—41 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds—in the loss to the Magic.”
My story from last night. Man, bad loss.
There’s a lot of talk about the Thunder’s “team policy” about not doing tribute videos. I guess you could call it that, but really, they just haven’t ever done one for a returning player. They always recognize them and say “welcome back to OKC…” and then get a clap. There’s just no video.
Brett Dawson: “But with Westbrook on the bench — he finished with 41 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds, his fourth triple-double of the season — the Magic went on a 10-0 run to turn a 90-86 deficit into a 96-90 lead, but Westbrook stabilized the Thunder, who went on a 10-2 run when he returned. The Oklahoma City offense flourished late, scoring 104 points in the final three quarters on 62 percent shooting. It was flat early, making 9 of its first 37 shots.”
James Herbert of CBSSports.com: “Credit Magic coach Frank Vogel for going with the hot hand and the guy who had something to prove. Ibaka isn’t typically the sort of player who gets the ball with the game on the line, but he hit Thunder big man Steven Adams with a pump fake and then delivered.”