Things haven’t exactly gone as planned for former Toronto Raptors bigs Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol this season.
It was just two months ago that Gasol spoke about his dissatisfaction being a backup for the Los Angles Lakers when Andre Drummond began eating into his minutes. At the time he called it a “tough pill to swallow” knowing he was going to be in and out of the lineup down the stretch and into the playoffs. Now Ibaka’s spot with the Los Angeles Clippers seems to be dwindling too.
Ibaka started in each of the first 39 games of his season this year before suffering a lower back injury that kept him sidelined for almost two months. When he finally returned for the final two games of the season the Clippers decided to make a rotation change, keeping Ivica Zubac as the team’s starting center.
Then on Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, Ibaka played 5:35 seconds. He appeared to get into a verbal altercation with Rajon Rondo in the second quarter and didn’t touch the court again.
Having not done much in the game, Ibaka decided to stick around after the game to get some extra work in.
Clippers coach Tyronne Lue said the decision to keep Ibaka sidelined in the second half was a strategic decision to go small against the Mavericks.