What 2 Watch 4 - Trail Blazers Vs. Thunder

by Casey Holdahl
Follow @chold



LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Serge Ibaka

Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka has gained the reputation around the league as being one of the game’s very best shot blockers. It’s certainly well deserved – He led the NBA in total blocks in each of the last three seasons heading into 2013-14 (681 blocks in three years). And while he is again recording top-notch numbers in the rejection category (131 this year, 2nd in NBA), Ibaka has improved other parts of his game all the while. With averages of 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds, he is on pace for career bests in two of the game’s key statistical categories. And then there’s this – Ibaka has scored 20 points or more 12 times this season after posting only eight such games in his first four NBA seasons combined. Clearly Ibaka is throwing his hat in a crowded ring of great power forwards in the NBA. With three NBA All-Star nominations to his name, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge has already established his place among the very best. And he’s taken yet another leap forward this season. His career-best averages of 24.1 points and 11.5 rebounds both rank sixth in the league, and the 41 games of 20 points or more he has notched this year stand only behind Kevin Durant. Three of those games have come against the Thunder this season, when Aldridge has averaged a whopping 30.7 points and 14.3 rebounds.

LaMarcus Aldridge

• Named an NBA All-Star for the third straight season, becoming one of five Trail Blazers to ever receive the honor three times
• Ranks sixth in the NBA in both points (24.1) and rebounds (11.5) this year
• Averaging 30.7 points (50.6% FG) and 14.3 rebounds in three games vs. Oklahoma City this season

Serge Ibaka

• Averaging career highs this season in scoring (15.3) and rebounding (8.8) in his fifth NBA season (all with Oklahoma City)
• Ranks second in the NBA in blocks (2.52) and 12th in field goal shooting (53.3%)
• Already has recorded more 20-point games this season (12) than he recorded during the rest of his career (8)