3-0 The Thunder’s record this season when out-rebounding its opponent by ten or more

7-for-10 Shooting numbers for Kevin Martin, who finished with 20 points

10 Rebounds for Nick Collison, including six on the offensive end. He also shot 4-for-7 for 8 points

15-6 Advantage for the Thunder in second chance points. The Thunder only allowed the Spurs to shoot 1-for-6 after offensive rebounds

17 Rebounds for Serge Ibaka, a season-high, and three short of his career-high

25 Points for Serge Ibaka, tying a career-high, on 10-for-16 shooting

27-for-30 Free throw shooting numbers for the Thunder on the night

29-16 Point differential in the Thunder’s favor in the third quarter


Serge Ibaka crashed the offensive glass, grabbed the ball between two San Antonio Spurs and got fouled as he tried to go back up for a put-back. After the play the intensity could be heard in his scream and the passion felt by the entirety of Chesapeake Energy Arena as Russell Westbrook joined him and pumped him up.

Throughout the game during the Thunder’s 107-93 victory over the Spurs on Monday night, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club could be seen making the hustle plays, the extra efforts and generally fighting as one towards its collective goal on each and every possession. It is the Thunder’s goal to play with that same level of heart and fire each night, regardless of the opponent.

“Going into any game I never worry about our guys playing with passion and energy,” Brooks said. “Usually it’s always been a staple and we have to continue that… That’s how we operate and we’re going to continue that.”

The Spurs came into this game as one of the best teams in the NBA, particularly on the offensive end. While the Spurs did shoot 45.6 percent from the floor, the Thunder held its opponents to only 6-for-20 from the three-point line while also turning the Spurs over 17 teams, which created 19 Thunder points. It was all about focus on the defensive end, particularly in defending the pick-and-roll, according to Nick Collison, that helped the Thunder achieve victory.

“When you play them, you have to have second and third efforts,” Collison said. “You’re going to have to continue to play for the whole 24 seconds. That’s always a big key with them. You also have to sprint back, get behind the ball because (Tony) Parker is so good in transition. It’s definitely an effort game when you play them.”

Another major factor in this Thunder win was what came at the end of each possession – a rebound. The Thunder moved to 3-0 on the season when out-rebounding its opponent by 10 or more, as tonight it snagged 49 rebounds to only 37 for the Spurs. 15 of those boards came on the offensive end, including six by Collison as the Thunder scored 15 second chance points. Collison finished with ten rebounds total, but that was bested by Serge Ibaka, who snagged 17 rebounds himself.

“As a group we rebounded the basketball,” Brooks said. “When we do that we usually put ourselves in a position to win. I thought we were taking advantage of some of our missed shots and getting offensive rebounds which is good. That’s one of the things we’ve been talking about the last couple weeks and it’s good to see that we did that.”

Ibaka’s big night on the boards was only three shy of his career-high, but it wasn’t just around the glass where he made his mark. Starting 7-for-7 from the field shooting the ball, Ibaka sparked his Thunder teammates and led them with a career-high-tying 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting. With 12 points in the first quarter, Ibaka continued to knock down open looks that he got from teammates like Russell Westbrook out of the pick-and-roll.

“(He was) great,” Westbrook said. “He did a great job of concentrating from the get go. He was ready to play as soon as we tipped ball, and he has been doing great all season long.”

In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Ibaka also swatted three shots on the evening. It was his offense, however, that really set the tone early on in this one because of the way he scored all of those baskets. He squared up on his man and hit a jumper over him, received passes on the wing and the elbow and also scored while rolling to the basket, finishing above the rim. Lastly, he snagged five offensive rebounds which in turn led to points. Overall, Ibaka’s tenacity was one of the biggest factors that led to victory.

“We were just aggressive and trying to protect our paint,” Ibaka said. “I just tried to give my teammates to trust me and let them know (they can) trust me. Every time Russell was passing me the ball, I was trying to make the right plays so the next time he’ll pass to me again.”

Complementing Ibaka were Westbrook, Kevin Martin and Kevin Durant. Westbrook notched nine assists on the evening to go with his 22 points, while Martin scored an efficient 20 points on only 10 shot attempts and Kevin Durant scored 19 points while dishing out four assists. It seemed as though the entire Thunder roster, focused and locked in, contributed to tonight’s win.

“It was a really good job by everybody,” Durant said. “Serge was terrific tonight. K-Mart came in and did a great job of playing off of each other, and Nick is his normal self, just in there as a hard worker and keeping plays alive for us. So it was a big win.”

Turning Point:
The Thunder led by only four points at 60-56 with 9:06 remaining in the third quarter, but went on an 11-0 run to break the game open. During the stretch, the Thunder forced six missed shots along with three turnovers while converting on the offensive end from the field and the free throw line. The run got started by a Kevin Durant layup off a pass from Russell Westbrook, then continued with a Nick Collison jumper, five straight Thunder free throws and then a Collison layup after an offensive rebound.

Plays the box score won't show, first half:
Great closeout by Perkins on Tim Duncan to force him to take an off-balance jumper and miss it. Beautiful bounce pass from Durant to Ibaka who floats through the lane to hit a layup. Nice hustle by Thabo Sefolosha to duck in and knock away a dribble, then track it down in the corner. Durant flies back in transition defense to save a sure layup. Westbrook jumps the passing lane and knocks away a pass that would have ended in a three-point attempt.

Plays the box score won't show, second half:
Toughness by Perkins to finish in transition through contact off a nice bounce pass by Westbrook. Really smart work by Ibaka to hold his ground and not go for the pump fake, forcing a travel. Russ showing amazing athleticism to bait Duncan and make a steal, then to soar and snag a lobbed entry pass. Collison runs the floor and hustles to snag a loose offensive rebound. Quick closeout by Kevin Martin makes Stephen Jackson put the ball on the floor and lose possession.

“(The energy) was really big. We always have to make an extra push against these guys. You have to be on point with every play because they expose all of your mistakes. So we just wanted to play hard, make up for if we made a turnover, get back in transition and try to stop those guys. So, I think we did a good job of just playing hard and playing together.” – Kevin Durant