Serge Ibaka now leads the league in blocks per game after swatting five shots Friday against the Wolves.
Ibaka moved percentage points in front of Milwaukee's forward Larry Sanders, who the Thunder will face Saturday night.
Ibaka now averages an even three blocks. Sanders is averaging 2.984 blocks.
Ibaka is seeking to become the league's leading shot blocker for the second straight season. He averaged a career-high 3.65 blocks last year. In 2010-11, Ibaka ranked third in blocks per game with a 2.41 average but lead the league in total blocks with 198.
If Ibaka finishes with the most total blocked shots for this season, he would become the first player since Dikembe Mutombo (1994-98) to lead the league in total blocked shots for three consecutive seasons.
A DEFENSIVE MINDSET
In the four games before Friday's at Minnesota, the Thunder had held each of its opponents below 90 points.
Over that span, the Thunder has allowed just 85.5 points on 37.5 percent shooting.
“The most important thing is the mindset, if the mindset is in the right place,” Brooks said. “We want to make teams miss. That's our goal every time down the court.”
Brooks said good ball pressure and the team's big men altering and blocking shots have also been a key to the recent defensive success.
RUBIO ROUNDING INTO FORM?
After recovering from an ACL injury, Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio appears to be finally rounding into form.
The second-year player from Spain averaged 8.4 points and seven assists on 34 percent shooting in his first 30 games this season. But in 15 March games before Friday's, Rubio was averaging 13.3 points. 7.8 assists and 2.6 steals while shooting 41.1 percent.
“You can just tell his confidence level is high,” Brooks said. “He just has an uncanny way of getting around players, scoring around the basket and making easier shots for his team. He's going to be a very, very good point guard for a lot of years. He just has that contagious, winning attitude that guys seem to be attracted to.”
Rubio finished with 17 points, seven assists and four steals in 30 minutes against the Thunder.
Derek Fisher snapped a streak of missed shots Friday night when he made a 3-pointer with 10:39 remaining in the second quarter. It was his second shot of the game. His first attempt, a miss, put his streak of misses at 10 straight. … Ibaka was called for a technical foul with 8.1 seconds remaining in the second quarter. … Kendrick Perkins fouled out of the game with 4:25 remaining. It was only the second time this season that he's fouled out of a game. The other game was Jan. 20 at Denver.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY