I suppose we can go ahead and forget about the first two games of the Western Conference finals, which saw the Serge Ibaka-less Thunder getting swallowed whole by the Spurs while Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant did their best to fight off the inevitable. We can forget those two games because Serge Ibaka is back, Scott Brooks has grown a spine, and the Thunder look like a brand new team.
The miraculous performance that the not-but-should-be hobbled Ibaka put on in Game 3 was proven to not be a mirage, as he continued to be a destructive, game-altering defensive force in Game 4. The Spurs shot 17-for-39 in the paint last night, and were just 3-of-14 on shots at the rim defended by Serge Ibaka. The Spurs got whatever they wanted in the paint throughout the first two games of this series, but Ibaka's return has completely shut down their interior offense. He's like a walking distortion field, turning the Spurs' finely tuned orchestra of an offense into a garble of static whenever he's on the court.