Months after being eliminated in the playoffs and now with a new team, former Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is still feeling the pain of blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Golden State Warriors.
Even with his new team now, the Orlando Magic, the 6’10” naturalized Spaniard could not help but wonder what could have been if they went on to represent the Western Conference in the finals.
Their loss led to a revamp of that Thunder team and part of it was him being traded. The team also lost Kevin Durant in free agency.
In an essay he wrote for SI.com, Ibaka talked about their monumental loss and revealed that he still feels the effects of it up to this day:
“It took me a long time to get over our loss to the Golden State Warriors, up 3-1 in the Western Conference finals, we had them.”
“Honestly, I’m still not over it, but I couldn’t talk about that series, or basketball, for a couple of weeks afterward. During the NBA Finals, friends came over to watch one of the games, but seeing the Warriors on the screen got me so upset I had to leave.”
After eliminating the other title-favorites, the San Antonio Spurs, in the semis, a lot of people believed that Ibaka and co., could dethrone the Warriors and set-up a finals series with the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers. But things did not go according to plan for their team.
With new teammates this coming season, even at only 26-years-old, the two-time season blocks leader will serve as the veteran to anchor the defense for the young Orlando Magic team.
He also considers this a fresh start for him and and is excited to move on and finally put the heartaches of defeat all in his past.