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NBA Finals

NBA Finals 2019: Serge Ibaka explains what makes the Toronto Raptors unique

Ibaka-Serge-USNews-Getty-FTR
Serge Ibaka (Getty Images)

Serge Ibaka hailed the uniqueness and togetherness of the Toronto Raptors as they prepare for the 2019 NBA Finals.

"This is a special group," Ibaka told Yahoo Sports after practice on 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 Raptors advanced to the Finals for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks. They'll take on the Golden State Warriors, who are looking to become only the third team in the last 50 years to win three straight titles.

Ibaka, 29, will make his second NBA Finals appearance. The last time he reached the championship series was in 2012 as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

From there, he played for the Magic 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. While his numbers have dropped in the playoffs, 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."

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