Ibaka's Record Night Propels Thunder To Series Tying Win

Saturday, June 2nd 2012, 10:37 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma City Thunder had no choice but to step up its game in order stay alive in the Western Conference Finals--and that's exactly what they did Saturday night in front of the home crowd.

Serge Ibaka set a career playoff scoring record with 26 points on 11-of-11 shooting from the floor and Kevin Durant scored 36 points, including 16-straight over a five minute run in the fourth quarter to propel the Thunder to a 109-103 win over San Antonio.

The victory evens the series 2-2 as it now shifts back to San Antonio for game five on Monday at 8 p.m.

Standing unguarded at the top of the key, OKC's Kendrick Perkins took two dribbles and netted the first field goal 40 seconds into the game. In the first five minutes of play, Perkins had the Thunder's first five points but San Antonio responded with six-of-nine shooting and no turnovers to take the early advantage on the scoreboard.

The Thunder stayed with it though, as the big three of Perkins, Nick Collison and Serge Ibaka came alive to produce arguably their best half of play all season. By halftime, the big three combined to score 33 points on 15-of-17 shooting giving OKC a 55-43 lead.

Ibaka led all scorers at the break with 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting while San Antonio was held to 41.9 percent shooting while no one scored in double figures for the Spurs in the first half of play.

At the break, Durant had eight points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field, but he refused to let that hinder his shooting confidence.

Ibaka's perfect shooting continued in the third and even though DeJuan Blair entered the game for San Antonio and helped the Sours outscore OKC 17-7 it still wouldn't be enough against Durant's late game spark.

The Spurs cut OKC's advantage to 86-82 with 6:54 remaining, but from there it was the Kevin Durant show as the NBA's scoring champ nailed seven-of-eight from the field for a total of 18 points in the fourth quarter.

San Antonio used that long ball late in the game to keep things interesting but Durant's shots continued to fall and Ibaka couldn't miss handing the Spurs their second straight loss.

Tim Duncan had 21 points for San Antonio, which had won 20 in a row before losing Game 3. As a team the Spurs shot 50 percent from the field for the game compared to OKC's 56 percent.

San Antonio out-shot the Thunder from 3-point range making 11-of-23 compared to OKC's 5-of-13 but the Thunder pulled down 10 more rebounds and 10 more assists than the Spurs.

Ibaka, Collison and Perkins went on to combine for 49 of the Thunder's points off 22-of-25 shooting.

Durant finished with 36 points, eight rebounds, six assists and only one turnover, while Ibaka's perfect 11-of-11 shooting went with five rebounds and three assists.

Game five is Monday at 8 p.m. in San Antonio and game six will return to OKC Wednesday night at 8 p.m. A limited number of tickets to Wednesday's game will go on sale Monday online at thunder.nba.com