The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 18, 2012

OKC tops Western Conference rival San Antonio

NORMAN — OKLAHOMA CITY -- Two weeks after being called out by San Antonio’s Stephen Jackson, Serge Ibaka got his payback. The Oklahoma City forward bullied the Spurs as he led the Thunder to a 107-93 victory Monday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Ibaka led all scorers with 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting. He also racked up 17 rebounds and three blocked shots as Oklahoma City earned its franchise-record-tying 11th consecutive victory.

“He’s a worker,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Ibaka. “He plays with a lot of heart and desire. He’s determined every day to get better. Tomorrow we have a day off, but I’m sure he will be in the gym getting some shots up and some weights getting ready for the next game.”

The Spurs defeated the Thunder in the season opener. And late in the fourth quarter, it looked like they might have a chance to do it again.

With its starters on the bench, San Antonio (19-7) trimmed an 18-point deficit down to nine in the fourth quarter. Nando De Colo, James Anderson and DeJuan Blair got the Spurs back in the game, putting the Thunder on their heels.

But with 3:45 left in the game, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Martin drained a 3-pointer to slow the Spurs’ momentum. Blair scored again, but a Nick Collison offensive rebound led to an Ibaka dunk.

After forcing a turnover, Thunder forward Kevin Durant came up with a breakaway dunk to put the game away.

“We are never going to stop fighting,” Brooks said. “That’s how we are made up. That’s how we challenge each other in practice. That’s never going to change.”

The Thunder (20-4) won the game on the glass, grabbing 15 offensive rebounds. They outboarded the Spurs as a team 49-37.

Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook finished with 22 points and nine assists. Durant had a subpar shooting night and finished with only 19 points, but he made up for it with three blocks and four assists. Martin added 20 points.

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