Serge Ibaka was having an outstanding season for the Toronto Raptors before the NBA pause and still, looks about as locked in as ever ahead of the NBA restart.
Serge Ibaka has been a major piece for the Toronto Raptors this season and was playing some of the best basketball of his career before novel coronavirus shut the NBA and the rest of the world down. He was asked to take on a major role when Marc Gasol went down with a hamstring injury on December 18th and didn’t disappoint, helping the Raptors reach a franchise and Canadian team-record win streak of 15.
- Exhibition Game 1 vs Houston Rockets: 17:10 mins | 18 pts | 3 reb | 2 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 2 TO | 8-10 FG | 2-3 3PT| 0-1 FT | 2 PF | +/- -8 |
- Exhibition Game 2 vs Portland Trailblazers: 24:49 mins | 19 pts | 6 reb | 0 ast | 0 stl | 1 blk | 1 TO | 5-9 FG | 3-5 3PT| 6-6 FT | 4 PF | +/- +13 |
- Exhibition Game 3 vs Phoenix Suns: 20:00 mins | 8 pts | 9 reb | 3 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 2-5 FG | 0-1 3PT| 4-4 FT | 1 PF | +/- -3 |
Ibaka hasn’t seemed to miss a beat since entering the NBA bubble, leading the Raptors in points their first two exhibition games while nearly reaching a double-double in the third. Nick Nurse wisely didn’t have any of his players starter or bench playing monster minutes by any stretch but Ibaka was consistently put out there and played hard every minute. Noticeably not rusty or requiring any extra rest.
Serge Ibaka is a veteran player at 30 years old and one of many leaders on this Raptors team. Ibaka’s dedication to maintaining his fitness and health is something of a legend in NBA circles and something his teammates give him a hard time for. But that work ethic is one of many reasons younger teammates look up to the veteran big man.
This dedication to the game of basketball is the reason he has remained a key piece on this Raptor team and why he will be a key cog in the Toronto Raptors run to defending the Larry O’Brien.