Ibaka's 24 points and 6 blocks leads Raptors past Sixers

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-03 11:28:49|Editor: Yamei
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TORONTO, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka scored a game-high 24 points, recorded a season-best six blocks, and grabbed six rebounds in the team's 113-105 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Sunday evening.

After missing his first five shots in the game, the 27-year-old Congo native connected on 11 of his next 12 shots to finish the game shooting 64.7 percent (11-for-17). In 19 games with the Raptors, Ibaka is averaging 15.1 points per game, shooting 43.9 percent from the three-point line and converting at an 89.3 percent rate from the charity stripe, all career-bests.

The eight-year veteran credits his teammates' unselfish nature for his seamless integration into the team over the past two months.

"It's tough to come to a team who have been together for a long time, and it takes a long time for them to give you your spot," said Ibaka after the victory. "These guys really don't care. They understand that they're here for one thing and one reason: to win," he added.

The six blocks on the night was an anomaly for Ibaka, who has seen his role change since first entering the league in 2010 as a member of the OKC Thunder. In his seven seasons with Oklahoma City, Ibaka averaged 2.5 blocks per game, including leading the league in the category in 2012 and 2013.

Over the years, Ibaka has added a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal and is averaging a career-best 1.9 three-point baskets per game with Toronto.

The increased offensive production has taken away from Ibaka's ability to block as many shots. In his first five seasons with Thunder, he recorded 30 games of six or more blocks. Today's effort was the 40th time in his career where he has reached six blocks, the first time since Feb. 3 of last year.

With the win, Toronto improves to 47-30 on the season and improves to 15-6 since the midseason acquisition of Ibaka. With five games remaining in the season, the Raptors sit in third place in the Eastern Conference and hope Ibaka is the missing piece to lead the team to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.