Serge Ibaka Sends Subtle Message to Russell Westbrook: "eight minutes and you don't touch the ball .

By Jason McIntyre

Oh look, the Thunder are hot again! With a dismantling of Toronto on the road, Oklahoma City has nowwon eight in a row, and if you’re looking for the key to the run, it’s passing. Sharing the ball. On 41 baskets Monday night, the Thunder had 29 assists. When Russell Westbrook is passing (12 assists) nearly as much as he’s shooting (16 shots), the Thunder are at their best.

When he’s not? You see comments like this from Serge Ibaka, whose stats are down in Year 1 under coach Billy Donovan. Read between the lines:

“I’m gonna tell you the truth, it’s hard sometimes when you play hard, you play you’re (butt off),” Ibaka swore, before apologizing and rephrasing. “You play so hard on defense, then you come to offense and you’re going to be out there in the corner for 4, 5, 6, sometimes 8 minutes and you don’t touch the ball. We human, man. It’s hard.”

Very well said. Ibaka didn’t call out Westbrook by name, but the implication is clear. It’s easy to fall in love with Westbrook’s otherworldly athleticism, but the way he shares the basketball is far more important when it comes to Kevin Durant maybe staying in Oklahoma City. Westbrook has 16 triple-doubles this year. The Thunder are 16-0 in those games.

If you’re wondering about the Thunder’s playoff road, right now it’d be Trailblazers, then Spurs, then Warriors.