Last Night in the NBA Playoffs: The Sergeballu LaMu Sayonga Loom Walahas Jonas Hugo Ibaka Game

Serge Ibaka thrived while playing on the healed calf heard ’round the world. (Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder won a basketball game. The Thunder are a  *~♡~ serious ~♡~* contender in the playoffs so they’re supposed to be winning games all the time. But behold: an entire ten days hath passed since the previous Thunder win, their series-clinching Game Six victory over the Clippers.

Having played only two games in the previous week and a half, and having lost both of them, the Thunder’s celebration game was definitively rusty. Early in the first quarter, while celebrating a made basket by Serge Ibaka, the suited Andre Roberson valiantly gave his team a morale boost from the bench by pretending to eat a bowl of cereal:

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Ooo-kay. For the rest of the evening the Thunder celebrated high-leverage successes by pantomiming the most mundane components of one’s daily routine. After draining a baseline jumper in the fourth quarter, Caron Butler (2-of-6 on the night) acted like he was making a call on his cellular telephone:

Dr. LawyerIndianChief, of FreeDarko days past, quite instantly understood that Butler was dialing neither Hasheem Thabeet nor Roberson on the bench (an easy assumption to make, as both men are seen fielding calls on their own air-phones in the Vine above):

If Game 4 goes as well for the Thunder as Game 3 did, observant viewers can prepare to witness the following celebrations after triumphant Thunder baskets:

  • Perry Jones III pretending to rapidly vacuum a carpet.
  • Nick Collison pretending to patiently adjust his shower handles so that the temperature is just right.
  • Jeremy Lamb pretending to hit snooze and then rolling back over.
  • Thabo Sefolosha pretending to floss.

Shenanigans from OKC’s bench-bound contingent aside, all of the glory in this game belonged to Serge Ibaka: he who was out of the playoffs and then back into the playoffs, he the third banana suddenly appreciated for his tremendous provision of potassium and other vital nutrients.

Sinking the very first Thunder shot of the game, Ibaka provided fresh energy and tenacity when his teammates may have felt most discouraged about facing the Spurs’ relentless execution. In 30 minutes—perhaps a bit much for that tender calf, but still 30 glorious minutes—Ibaka scored 15 points on 7 shots, corralled 7 rebounds, and swatted away 4 shots. The love from the Oklahoman crowd was real:

The swarming Thunder limited the Spurs to a 39.6 field goal percentage—this, after San Antonio shot 53.8% in the first two, non-Ibaka games of the series. The Thunder lead got so large that Gregg Popovich raised the white flag and sent in the bench unit with a full six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

After the game, Popovich indicated that the same injury/non-injury bug may be spreading to the Spurs’ locker room (tip of the hat to Michael Lee):

So adjust your fantasy lineups, or whatever.

Miles Wray