Ibaka said it was due to something Chriss said, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
The theory privately held inside the Cavaliers’ locker room: Years of frustration and a mountain of playoff losses against Cleveland spilled over, causing Ibaka to snap.
“That might have been exactly what it was,” Love said to cleveland.com when the conversation about Cleveland’s past dominance over the Raptors came up.
The Cavs have dominated the Raptors lately, sweeping Toronto out of the playoffs the last two years and ousting Toronto the year prior in the most-lopsided six-game series in NBA history. Cleveland was on its way to a 25-point win when Ibaka went after Chriss last night.
But this sounds like the downtrodden post-LeBron James Cavaliers trying to puff themselves up. See Tristan Thompson saying before the season the road to the Eastern Conference title still goes through Cleveland.
Ibaka joined the Raptors in the middle of the 2016-17 season. Sure, he played for two Toronto teams that got swept by the Cavs. But he has less longevity in this matchup than other players. The Raptors also won their first three games against the Cavaliers this season.
We can’t know what Ibaka was thinking. He has not elaborated publicly. But I really doubt the Cavs’ theory.