The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

December 18, 2012

Ibaka, Thunder make Spurs look old

OKLAHOMA CITY — A few signs the Thunder are reaching the next level?

Well, one, Oklahoma City’s fans are beginning to arrive fashionably late. Surely not as many that arrive fashionably late elsewhere, but there were empty seats throughout the first quarter in the lower level at Chesapeake Energy Arena Monday night. And don’t tell anybody, but some never got filled. Many left early, too.

Two, even for San Antonio, Western Conference royalty to be sure, fan involvement came in the form of eruption rather than the constant roar that accompanied last year’s trip to the NBA finals.

Three, and most important, the Thunder made the Spurs look old and slow and something akin to yesterday’s news in Tuesday night’s 107-93 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Even on a night Russell Westbrook made only 6 of 18 shots and Kevin Durant finished with 19 points, more than eight short of his average.

Indeed, the Thunder may be threatening to make all their chasers look like yesterday’s news.

It’s true, the schedule is only now entering its difficult phase, and the Spurs were without Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard and the season is long and Memphis did take a game from the Thunder, even in Oklahoma City, in November and if the Clippers are ever going to make people forget they’re the Clippers this may be the season.

Yet Oklahoma City moved to 20-4, more wins and fewer losses than the rest of the league, and two things about how the Thunder did it scream for everybody to take notice.

One, this was just the latest example of Serge Ibaka raising his ceiling as he went for 25 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots.

On a floor that included Durant, Westbrook, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, Ibaka was best, making 20-footers on one end of the floor and blocking shots on the other.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • 498415327SB20543_Sky_Shock How Paris got her groove back

    TULSA — It looked like it came easily to Courtney Paris. The minute she stepped foot on the campus at the University of Oklahoma in 2005, it seemed she was already an All-American and destroying the competition in the Big 12 and across the ...

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three Tigers competing for quarterback

    While some teams have had questions surrounding the quarterback position in recent years, Norman High has seen relative stability. Thanks to a three-year run by Zach Long followed up by Jakcob Dean’s ascendance last season, the Tigers ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Brace yourselves for what is likely bumpy road to playoffs

    In October of 2005, back when Butch Peters had Norman High ranked No. 5 on the gridiron and Karin Sexson had Norman North ranked No. 1 on the volleyball court, I wrote a column under the headline: “Two great teams … Who cares.” It was all ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Clash Football It’s a whole new ball game for Tigers and Timberwolves

    With just over two weeks until football practice officially begins Aug. 11, everyone is busy preparing for the upcoming season. After all, it’s one that will be unlike any other....

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • USA Basketball Durant tells media that he’s not looking too far ahead

    While most of the NBA’s offseason has been focused on players going home, max contracts and who gets Kevin Love, the reigning MVP has been pretty low key. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has stayed in the shadows for the most part while ...

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tang making a splash on state level

    The Sooner Swim Club has produced a long string of great athletes in Norman. Norman North has won back-to-back state championships and senior Justin Wu owns several state records and last week qualified for the U.S. National swim meet. The ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • OSSAA releases enrollment figures

    The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association released the preliminary 2014-15 ADM for classification purposes Friday and not much has changed for many of the area schools. Moore (2,265), Norman North (2,180), Westmoore (2,090), ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Swim regionals 1 Norman North’s Justin Wu qualifies for U.S. national

    Justin Wu made history last week when he qualified for the U.S. national swim meet. A senior at Norman North, Wu already owned several state records when he outpaced a field of college swimmers in the event....

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woodard joins successful soccer team in Stillwater

    Haley Woodard has been one of the preeminent multi-sport stars in the state for several years. The Norman North senior is a state champion in track and soccer and has been an integral part of a basketball team that’s been to back-to-back ...

    July 24, 2014