The Oklahoma City Thunder evened its series with the San Antonio Spurs with a 107-93 victory at the Chesapeake Energy Arena Monday. Serge Ibaka led all scorers with 25 and led all rebounders with 17.
-Serge Ibaka scored 25 points and pulled down 17 boards. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook didn’t have their best scoring performances. Instead, OKC relied on Ibaka who took three more shots than Durant.
-OKC’s defense stepped up in the third period. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan combined for just 11 points in the second half and Parker had just one assist.
-Serge Ibaka was asked after the game if he played better because he was motivated by Stephen Jackson’s tweets earlier this month. His response: “I respect your job, but I don’t want to talk about it.”
-Russell Westbrook was asked the same question about Ibaka. Westbrook’s response: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
-Gregg Popovich sat his starters in the fourth quarter after OKC opened an 18-point lead. Manu Ginobili didn’t play either due to a left quad contusion.
-The Thunder moved to a league-best 20-4 while San Antonio dropped to 19-7. The two teams are heading in opposite directions as OKC has won 11-straight and the Spurs have dropped four of their last six.
-“It’s hard,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after the game. “I tell people this all the time, I couldn’t do what he’s (Ibaka) done-go to this country and produce like he’s producing here. It’s a credit to him and the organization.”
-“He’s (Ibaka) gifted,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after the game. “You have a four-man who can spread the court and shoot it like that, it makes it tougher on everybody. That’s why there’s so many shooting four’s in the league.”
-“I didn’t want to play him (Stephen Jackson) that many minutes, but he’s a hard guy to get off the floor,” Popovich said. “He likes to be out there, but we finally convinced him to get off the floor. After all this time off, 18 was plenty, probably a little too much.”
-Serge Ibaka: 25 points / 17 rebounds / 3 blocks
-Kevin Martin: 20 points (7-10 shooting)
-Thunder: 49 rebounds, Spurs: 37 rebounds
-Thunder starters: 77 points, Spurs starters: 49 points
Why the Spurs Lost:
-It might have had something to do with the absence of Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard, but the main reason they lost is because they stopped scoring in the third quarter. They only scored 16 in the third while Oklahoma City poured in 29.
Why the Thunder Won:
-Serge Ibaka. If it weren’t for Ibaka, the Thunder could’ve very easily lost to San Antonio for the second time this season. Durant and Westbrook didn’t have it going, but Ibaka stepped up and carried the team. He led the way the entire game and was the most intense player on the court during his 38 minutes.