San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich thought Serge Ibaka's defense was the biggest problem the Spurs had in Game 3.
On Saturday, Popovich and the Spurs saw how much of a headache the Thunder can be when Ibaka has a hot hand at the other end.
Ibaka scored a playoff career-high 26 points to help the Thunder even the Western Conference Finals at two games apiece with a 109-103 win in Game 4 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Ibaka finished 11-for-11 from the floor.
The NBA record for the most shots made without a miss in a playoff game is 12-for-12, set by Larry McNeill in 1975. Scott Wedman is the only other player in NBA history to go 11-for-11. He did it in 1985.
“That's a pretty big effect,” a still astonished Popovich said. “All the (Thunder's) bigs really scored tonight. Obviously, you put most of your attention on the big three there and try to do a great job on them first. But the bigs came through tonight and were outstanding.”
The Thunder's big man trio of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison combined to shoot 22-for-25. Perkins was 7-for-9. Collison was 4-for-5.
“If you did a shooting drill with nobody guarding you, I don't think you could do that,” Popovich said.
Ibaka scored just two points in the first quarter, laying in a feed from point guard Russell Westbrook. Ibaka, the league's leading shot blocker, started rolling in quarter two.
The first two minutes of the second period became the tell-all sign that Ibaka would be in for a big night. He hit 18-footers on two of the Thunder's first four possessions. Previously in this series, Ibaka had struggled to knock down that shot, which had improved so much in his third season.