The Clippers got a win 107-96 over the Detroit Pistons as head coach Tyronn Lue exercised a different rotation. He played his two big guys together Serge Ibaka and Isaiah Hartenstein.
Lue said it was pretty good watching them on the floor. Hartenstein has been filling in for Ibaka while he’s recovering from his back surgery. During that time off Ibaka has been mentoring him.
“I used to be in a situation like him. Someone helped me too. Of course I want to do the same. I’ve been in the game so long, I’ve seen so many things. We are all here for one reason, to win. If I can help, I will be here.”
Ibaka appreciates being back on the floor after sitting out for so long. “I love playing basketball. Especially when you spend a lot of time, putting in work, being patient and sacrificing things just to get your body ready, you appreciate being back.”
Ibaka was surprised to play along with Hartenstein. The veteran said he’s willing to play any role he’s asked to do. “I haven’t played the four in four years. I’m in great shape. I just want to play, I’ll do whatever it takes. I have no choice.”
Lue mentioned he played them together to get Ibaka more reps. They will get more plays drawn up during practice according to Lue.
Playing overseas has helped Hartenstein transition to the NBA and that’s how connects with Ibaka. He said the pace was hard because it was faster.
Says Ibaka gave him a lot of tips during the time he was injured. “Ibaka made my life easier. When he was hurt I went to him a lot. I can talk to him more now that he’s back.” Hartenstein says he has good communication with most of the guys on the team.
“Everywhere I’ve gone it’s been a blessing. I’ve always had a vet. Before it was Tyson Chandler, I had Paul Millsap, in Houston I had Nene. Now that I have Serge it’s been a blessing. I’ve learned different stuff with different players. Playing with Jokic helped my passing. Keep learning from those who can help my career.”