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Oklahoma City Thunder: Struggling Thunder does not beat Mavericks without Serge Ibaka

Ibaka's size, athleticism pays off in an ugly victory. He scores 19 points, grabs 17 rebounds and blocks five shots.
By John Rohde Published: December 27, 2012

Without Ibaka, OKC doesn't win.

“We needed every one of those (rebounds) tonight,” Nick Collison said.

The athleticism of the 6-foot-10, 235-pound Ibaka was easily evident when the Mavs featured a smaller lineup without Nowitzki or Chris Kaman.

“They went small and I don't really know too many guys stronger than him and keeping off the glass,” OKC point guard Russell Westbrook said.

Less than three weeks ago, the Thunder was the highest-scoring, best-shooting team in the NBA.

In the last five games, however, OKC has misfired at 42.4 percent from the floor and had dipped to fourth in shooting and third in scoring.

Sefolosha and Westbrook said the Thunder is getting good shots, they're simply not falling.

“Exactly,” said Sefolosha, who shot 3 for 7 on Thursday. “Looking back, we're getting open shots, good shots. We've got to keep shooting them with confidence and they'll fall.”