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OKC Thunder: Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams lead a back line of rim protection that's key to OKC's success

by Anthony Slater Published: May 28, 2014

Per 48 minutes, Adams is averaging 3.85 blocks this postseason, more than Jordan (3.58), Ibaka (3.42), Hibbert (2.44) or anyone else that’s played substantial time.

Adams had five in one game in the Memphis series. He had seven against the Clippers. He had four in 28 minutes against the Spurs on Sunday night, victimizing Tim Duncan and Tony Parker.

“It's something I just kind of picked up now,” Adams said. “I'm big, so that helps with the tall guys, but in terms of timing, yeah, it's gotten a lot better. … I picked it up off Serge.”

And that’s a scary thought for opposing teams. Ibaka is 24, and the improving Adams is only 20, making this front line of the future a problem for potential penetrators in the present.

And the duo has help. Kevin Durant has 21 blocks this postseason, sixth most in the NBA, and Russell Westbrook has chipped in six, second most at his position behind John Wall. As a team, the Thunder has been first or second in the league in blocks per game each of the past five seasons.

Against the Spurs, this has been a huge and well-documented key. In the past two games, the Thunder has 18 blocks and countless alters. Ibaka’s return has coincided with San Antonio’s struggles, with Parker and his Spurs teammates finding it tougher to finish in the paint and harder to dribble and shoot on the perimeter.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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