Serge Ibaka is enjoying his time in Toronto.
The Raptors forward marveled at how unique the team is in comparison to groups he has played with in the past.
“This is a special group,” Ibaka told Yahoo Sports after practice Tuesday. “Very special. Our togetherness. Everybody really cares about the team. You don’t really have guys with egos here. Even guys who don’t play, you see them cheering for the team, that’s good. When things go wrong, we don’t point fingers. We talk, we watch film and get better.”
The 29-year old will make his second NBA Finals appearance Thursday against the Warriors in Scotiabank Arena. The last time he reached the championship series was in 2012 as a member of the Thunder. From there he bounced to Orlando before being traded to Toronto in 2017, which revived his career.
“Man, after seven years, it seemed like most people thought it was over for me,” Ibaka said. “But I always believed. I always put in the work. A lot of guys in the league have never seen the NBA Finals. This is my second time. I am so thankful.”
Ibaka averaged 15.0 points and 8.1 rebounds during his second full season with the Raptors in 2018-19. While his numbers have dropped in the postseason, he acknowledged that change is necessary to help his team win.
“The sacrifices were not easy,” Ibaka said. “But you make those sacrifices and you say everything is about the team. Now the sacrifices are paying off.”
This is Toronto’s first ever trip to the NBA Finals, and it will face a Golden State team that is making its fifth straight appearance.