Going into the game on Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs knew that one of them would emerge as the first team in the NBA to reach 20 wins. OKC overcame San Antonio 107-93 to get that coveted twentieth win and extend their winning streak to 11.
The last time these two teams met was in San Antonio in the Thunder’s season opener. The Thunder battled, but having little time to integrate Kevin Martin into their offense, Oklahoma City lost in the final seconds as Tony Parker made the Thunder pay for defeating San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals last season.
Monday night was a different story. The Thunder has had time to adjust to the personnel changes that occurred over the offseason, and Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich waved the white flag in the third quarter, denying Parker any hopes of last-second heroics.
The star of the game was Serge Ibaka, who, with James Harden’s departure, is now making a case for himself to be part of the New Big 3 in OKC. Ibaka scored 25 points to go along with 17 rebounds for a double-double. Serge also had three blocks on the night. Westbrook followed Ibaka with 22 points, and Kevin Martin put up 20 off the bench.
The surprise of the evening might have been the play of Kevin Durant. The all-star forward only scored 19 points, well below his season average, but with all of his teammates contributing, Durant did not need to score 30 for the Thunder to put this game away.
Aside from Ibaka, the Thunder’s other big men also had impressive numbers. Kenrick Perkins went 3-3 from the line, and ended up with a total of nine points. Nick Collison grabbed 10 boards, and almost had the double-double with eight points.
With the win, the Thunder improve to 20-4 on the season and solidify their position atop the Western Conference to end their five-game home stand. The road will get harder from now on as the Thunder play 15 of their next 22 games away from the Chesapeake Energy Arena. First up, OKC will head to Atlanta on Wednesday night to take on the 14-7 Hawks.