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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
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If the Thunder is going to continue to miss this many shots, somebody's got to clean up the mess.

Serge Ibaka did precisely that in Thursday night's 111-105 overtime survival against the hardly recognizable Dallas Mavericks at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

With OKC misfiring at a 41.9 percent clip from the field, Ibaka used his superior size and athleticism against the Mavs to score 19 points, haul in 17 rebounds and block five shots.

Eight of Ibaka's rebounds came at the offensive end, including two straight boards in the final minute of the fourth quarter that allowed the Thunder to drain 40 seconds off the game clock while clinging to a 96-95 lead.

“It was just him playing aggressive,” teammate Thabo Sefolosha said. “They went small for a big part of the game and that allowed him to really put the pressure on them with offensive rebounds.”

Offensively, Ibaka was the only Thunder player to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, going 7 for 10.

At both ends of the floor, Ibaka turned up huge.

“I thought Serge was phenomenal, what he did offensively, defensively,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He was protective. He was rebounding, getting the offensive rebounds that we need.”

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