The Thunder busted out of the gates early in Game 3, just as they had in Game 2. Unfortunately in Game 2 they allowed the Mavericks to regain their footing, compete until halftime, and turn the game into another nail-biter. In Game 3 the Mavericks were vying to do the same. OKC's offense was faltering, Jason Terry was driving, and then Serge Ibaka decided to send a message to everyone in American Airlines Center.
The historic great shot blockers of the game talk about how the art of the shot block is to deny the attempt but keep the ball in play. All true. However, sometimes the situation in the game requires something different. It requires a message. At this particular juncture, OKC's message had to be, "Not this time."
What I find most fascinating in this clip is that James Harden is back and in position to defend Terry, but he just stands there, stares at Terry, and allows him to elevate for the lay-up. Why?
"That was a great block...Great play by Serge. He's been doing that all year. James [Harden] kind of set Terry up for it. Made a great play. Nothing new to us. Serge does that all the time." - Kevin Durant
Harden could see Ibaka flying down the court. Harden intentionally got out of the way so that Terry thought he had a clear path to the rim, never realizing that his shot was about to be annihilated. If it is possible to get an assist on a blocked shot, you've just witnessed one.