Thunder notebook: Serge Ibaka's numbers ‘serging' on defense

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: April 28, 2011

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka finished one block and two rebounds away from a defensive double-double against the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

The youngest player on the NBA's youngest playoff roster, the 21-year-old Ibaka had a career-high nine blocked shots, plus eight rebounds and just one point.

Ibaka speaks four languages, one being broken English, which like his overall game has improved immensely since he arrived last season.

"My game is every time not just offense, you know," Ibaka said inside the OKC locker room after midnight. "Some games, I come out with good offense – the last two or three games. Some games, is the offense. Something I can do every day is my defense. Offense? Some days, yes. Everybody can have bad day or good day. On defense, I can't come out 80-90 percent every night to do my defense. That is why I will stay focused."

Ibaka leads the playoffs in blocked shots with 4.8 per game. Chicago's Joakim Noah is next at 2.6.

Ibaka also ranked fourth in playoff rebounds at 11.0.

THUNDER SELLS OUT GAMES

In a span of approximately 20 minutes on Thursday, the Thunder sold out its first two home games of the Western Conference semifinals, when it will play either San Antonio or Memphis.

There will be other opportunities for fans to purchase a limited number of tickets when they become available. Fans can sign up for these ticket notifications by joining the "Last Minute Club" at thunder.nba.com.

In addition, similar to every home game, the Thunder will host the Thunder Rewards Zone promotion outside Oklahoma City Arena, where 200 tickets will be raffled. The raffle will reward 25 pairs of tickets, and another 75 fans will win the chance to purchase the remaining tickets.

FIRST-ROUND HURDLE

Denver was eliminated in the opening round for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. The last seven seasons have been under coach George Karl, who has been eliminated in the opening round 12 times in 20 career playoff appearances.


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