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Thunder notes: Rebounding deciding outcomes for OKC

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, Modified: December 8, 2010 at 11:50 pm •  Published: December 8, 2010

Rebounding deciding outcomes for OKC

More and more, a direct correlation between how the Oklahoma City Thunder rebounds and whether the team wins is becoming evident.

Going into Wednesday's game at Minnesota, the Thunder had out-rebounded opponents 248-213 in its past five wins. That's a 49.6 to 42.6 average advantage that includes a plus-2.4 differential in offensive rebounds. But in Thunder's past five losses, OKC has been out-rebounded 232 to 181, a negative differential of 10.2 rebounds per game, which includes a minus-4.4 differential in offensive rebounds.

“We have to have a hit-first mentality, and all five guys have to crash the boards,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “We can't rely on one or two guys. That's not usually what we do. We usually rebound as a committee. All of our good rebounding games, every body seems to have five to eight. And when we don't have a good night, the guys that usually get seven and eight get three or four…Everybody has to chip in and make those plays for us.”

One of the culprits has been Serge Ibaka, who is averaging 6.5 rebounds this season but has pulled down just 4.2 per game in the past five losses. A part of the problem can be attributed to Ibaka's increased focus on offense. The second-year forward is averaging 2.2 more shots per game this season, many of them being attempted further from the basket.

“There is definitely a concern because we need (rebounding) from him,” Brooks said. “That's his strength. If you don't perform to your strengths every night you're going to end up with inconsistent play.

Box score: Thunder vs. Timberwolves

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