Down 3-1 to the Miami Heat, Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka still believes that Oklahoma City can still take one in Miami and take the series back to their home court.
No team in NBA Finals history has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit. But the Oklahoma City big man who was been swatting shots away hopes that they can finally block out all of those deficiencies that have doomed them in their three consecutive losses.
The multi-talented Ibaka will be playing with Spain's national team this summer at the Olympics and also spent time in his adopted country, the Republic of the Congo. He moved to Europe as a 17-year-old to play for CB L'Hospitalet in the Spanish second division league and for Real Madrid during the NBA lockout.
He keeps stressing that if they just do the little things on the floor to get a few plays to go their way, Oklahoma City can stay alive tonight.
Ibaka has been spreading his a message to his teammates, especially James Harden who has been a shell of himself, not living up to his NBA Sixth Man award.
"I said I still believed. I want you to trust your decision-making. We need you to be together and believe that we can do it," Ibaka said.
The soft-spoken Republic of the Congo native, now a Spanish citizen, was trying to wake up a team that's slipped off in key moments during the series. The Thunder in this series had not reflected the same team that beat the defending champions Dallas Mavericks, took out the Los Angeles Lakers, and eliminated the Spurs with ease in the Western Conference finals.
"We have guys who can make crazy plays and make us, the team better. My message was to make them still believe that we can still do it. We've been working hard to be here. So we still have one more chance. You know it’s not over yet. We believe all together. Everybody was happy to hear it and motivated. I talked to Kevin and Westbrook. I think nobody here believes that we can't do it," Ibaka said.
Ibaka knows that come Game 5 tonight, Oklahoma City will go out there and play knowing they have nothing lose and hopefully make history in the end.
Ibaka said Miami has been playing good basketball and getting to the Finals not once, but just two times is very difficult. While both teams have taken it to each other on the court and the record doesn't positively reflect well on Oklahoma City, Ibaka said both team hold high respect for each other.
Just a few days ago Ibaka provided some bulletin board message for not only the Heat, but LeBron James when he told Hoopsworld that the NBA's MVP was "not a good defender" and that James could "play defense for two-three minutes but not 48 minutes" and that he could not play Kevin Durant "one-on-one."
"People have exaggerated," Ibaka said. "People think the way they think."