Stats & Info: Serge Ibaka

Top stats to know: Spurs 117, Thunder 89

May, 30, 2014

Soobum Im/USA TODAY SportsDuncan notched his 154th postseason double-double. Only Magic Johnson (157) has more.
The San Antonio Spurs rolled again at home to earn a chance to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 on the road. The Spurs returned home to find their shooting stroke, with or without Serge Ibaka on the floor.

Tim Duncan and the Spurs controlled the interior from the start. Duncan recorded his 98th playoff game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. The next closest active player is Dirk Nowitzki with 64.

Spurs figure out Ibaka

The Spurs bounced back with a strong shooting performance. San Antonio shot 59 percent with Serge Ibaka on the floor in Game 5 after being held to 40 percent with Ibaka on the floor in Games 3-4.

The biggest difference was Tim Duncan. Duncan scored 14 points while Ibaka was on the court in Game 5. Duncan was limited to 13 points when Ibaka played in Games 3-4.

The Spurs shot 71.4 percent in the paint Thursday, their best in a game this postseason. San Antonio shot a postseason-low 45.0 percent in the paint in Game 4.

San Antonio found success in the paint after Gregg Popovich switched Tiago Splitter out of the starting lineup ahead of Game 5. Tim Duncan and Splitter did not play a single second on the court together in Game 5 after playing 54 minutes together in Games 1-4.

Jump shots fall back at home

After shooting 52 percent on uncontested jump shots in Games 1-2, the Spurs struggled to find their stroke on the road, shooting 37 percent in Oklahoma City.

San Antonio returned home and the shots started to fall again. The Spurs made 56 percent of open jumpers in Game 5, their highest mark since Game 1.

Danny Green rediscovered his three-point stroke at home. Green has made at least four three pointers in each home game this series, but combined to make only three in San Antonio's two road losses.

This season, the Spurs are 18-0 when Green makes at least four three pointers in a game.

Thunder, Westbrook run dry in San Antonio

After Russell Westbrook scored half of his 40 points in Game 4 on drives to the basket, the Spurs limited Westbrook to seven points on four drives in Game 5. Westbrook's four drives are his fewest in a game since Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Thunder were held to a post-season low four transition points in Game 5. Oklahoma City scored 29 points in transition in Game 4, its second-most this postseason.

Top stats to know: Thunder at Spurs

May, 19, 2014

Getty ImagesTim Duncan and Kevin Durant are four wins away from advancing to the NBA Finals.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs begin their Western Conference Finals series tonight, the second time in the last three seasons that they have met in this round.

Back in 2012, the Thunder defeated the Spurs in six games in the Conference Finals, winning the final four games after losing the first two. What are the key storylines heading into this year's matchup?

Impact of Ibaka’s injury
Serge Ibaka will miss the rest of the playoffs with a calf injury, leaving the Thunder with a big hole in the middle.

How much will Ibaka’s absence hurt the Thunder against the Spurs?

The Thunder are eight points better per 48 minutes this postseason with Serge Ibaka on the court compared to when Ibaka has been on the bench.

If there's a silver lining to Ibaka getting injured, it's that the team stumbled upon the pairing of Nick Collison and Steven Adams.

The two played on the floor together for 16 minutes in Game 6 and the Thunder outscored the Clippers by 16 when Collison and Adams shared the floor. Prior to Game 6, Collison and Adams had played on the floor together for just 33 minutes this postseason.

With or without Ibaka, the Spurs were likely going to put the Thunder's interior defense to the test. According to Player Tracking Data, the Spurs have been one of the best teams getting the ball inside during the playoffs.

The Spurs are averaging 28.1 drives per game this postseason, third-most in the NBA. The Spurs are also averaging 19.2 "close" touches (within 12 feet of basket) per game this postseason, second-most in the NBA.

San Antonio was one of the most efficient teams around the basket during the regular season, shooting 58.1 percent inside the paint, which ranked third in the NBA. But no team slowed them down better than the Thunder. With Serge Ibaka on court, the Spurs shot just 47.1 percent inside the paint.

Thunder regular season sweep
The Thunder took all four meetings against the Spurs in the regular season, winning by an average of nearly 10 points per game.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fourth instance in NBA history where one team was 4-0 or better versus another team in the regular season and then met in the Conference Finals.

Each of the three previous times, the team that swept the regular season won the playoff series as well.

Importance of Game 1
If history is any indicator, the Thunder could be in trouble tonight.

They have lost 10 straight Game 1s on the road, with their last such win coming in the 1992 Western Conference First Round at Golden State. The Spurs have won nine straight Game 1s, the fifth longest streak in NBA history, according to Elias.

The Spurs are 22-4 in best-of-7 series when winning Game 1 in the Gregg Popovich era (6-7 when they don’t); the Thunder have a 5-2 series record when winning Game 1 since moving to OKC (3-2 when they don’t).

Thunder, Durant can't miss in win vs. Nets

January, 31, 2014

ESPN Stats & InformationThe Thunder shot 63.6 percent on Friday, their highest field goal percentage since moving to OKC.
It turns out that the only thing that could stop Kevin Durant was a blowout. His streak of 30-point games ended at 12 on Friday night as he scored only 26 points in the Oklahoma City Thunder‘s 120-95 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Durant played just 30 minutes and didn’t step on the court in the fourth quarter as the Thunder cruised past the Nets, leading by as many as 32 points at the Barclays Center.

Despite not reaching the 30-point threshold, Durant had arguably the most efficient scoring night of his career. It was the first time that he made at least 10 field goals and shot more than 80 percent from the field in a game.

Durant took advantage of Shaun Livingston, going 9-of-10 with 22 points and one turnover when defended by him. He was at his best shooting from distance, making all five of his attempts from 15 feet and outside against the Nets.

He completed his dominant month with 575 points, the most in January since George Gervin had 590 in 1980. The last player to score that many points in any month was Kobe Bryant, who had 578 in March 2006.

Ibaka was Sergical
Durant was not the only efficient player in a Thunder uniform on Friday. Serge Ibaka scored 25 points on 12-for-12 shooting, the most makes without a miss by any player this season.

He did nearly all of his damage around the basket, with an average shot distance of 7.4 feet, almost three feet closer than his season average of 10.2 feet.

The last player to go 12-for-12 or better in a game was Nene Hilario in 2009 against the Utah Jazz, and the last player to do that in a road game was Karl Malone in 1999 at the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Thunder shot 63.6 percent from the field, the highest field goal percentage by any team this season and the best for the franchise since Jan. 21, 2002, against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Stat of the night
The Nets grabbed just 17 rebounds in the loss, the fewest rebounds by any team in a game since rebounds became an official stat in the 1950-51 season. For perspective, entering Friday, 42 different players have had at least one 17-rebound game this season. And Kevin Love had 16 by himself on Friday night.

All-Star cast: The case for Ibaka, Jordan

January, 28, 2014

Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY SportsSerge Ibaka has made a name for himself as one of the best shot blockers in the league.
The NBA will announce its full All-Star Game rosters on Thursday, and a number of players have made a case to make their first appearance in the game. ESPN Stats & Information is taking a five-part look at these players.

1. The Future, Part I (John Wall and Anthony Davis)
2. The Future, Part II (DeMarcus Cousins, Lance Stephenson, Damian Lillard)
3. Emerging Talent, Part I (DeMar DeRozan, Ty Lawson)
4. Emerging Talent, Part II (Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan)
5. The Veterans (Mike Conley, Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry)

Here is Part II of our look at emerging talent, where we explore the cases for Serge Ibaka and DeAndre Jordan to be named to the All-Star Game.

Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka is referred to as “Iblocka” by his teammates because of his elite shot-blocking abilities. Ibaka ranks third in the NBA this season, swatting 2.6 shots per game.

Ibaka leads the NBA with 115 blocks this season and has led the NBA in blocked shots in each of the last three seasons. Since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74, the only other player to do that was Dikembe Mutombo, who led the NBA in total blocks five straight seasons from 1993-94 to 1997-98.

Among players who defend at least five field goal attempts at the rim per game and have played at least 30 games this season, Ibaka ranks fourth in the league in opponents’ field goal percentage (43.2 percent), according to player-tracking data.

Injuries to Russell Westbrook have also caused Ibaka to take a larger role in the Thunder offense. Ibaka’s usage percentage of nearly 20 percent is a career-high, as are his 14.6 points per game.

DeAndre Jordan
Jordan is averaging a career high in several categories, including minutes per game (35.5), points per game (9.5), rebounds per game (13.9) and blocks per game (2.4).

Currently, he finds himself in the top five in three major statistical categories. He leads the league in rebounds per game (13.9), field goal percentage (64.5 percent), and is fourth in blocks per game (2.4). The only player to average at least 13 rebounds, two blocks and shoot 60 percent from the field in the same season was Dwight Howard in 2009-10.

Jordan has four games of 20 or more rebounds this season, tied with Dwight Howard for the league high. Prior to this season Jordan had three 20-rebound games in 351 career games.

Jordan is tied with Andre Drummond for the league lead with 5.5 contested rebounds per game (contested rebounds, being ones in which an opponent is within 3.5 feet of the rebounder). His 651 total rebounds this season (in 47 games) is already 39 more than he had all of last season (82 games).

Jordan is currently on a 24-game streak of double-digit rebounds, which is seven more than the second longest streak of the season (Joakim Noah).

Rockets can't miss, then can't make

January, 17, 2014

The Houston Rockets' 73 points were their most in any half this season.

But they couldn't buy a basket in the second half.
The best of halves and the worst of halves for the Houston Rockets happened on the same night.

The Rockets set an NBA record for the largest point drop from first half to second half in their loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Rockets scored 73 points in opening half, but managed only 19 in the second half.

The Elias Sports Bureau also noted that the Rockets became the first team to score at least 70 points in the first half, but score fewer than 100 points for the game. They also became the first team to score 40 or more points in a quarter, then follow that up with consecutive quarters in which they scored 10 points or fewer.

They scored more points in the first three minutes (11) of the game than they did the entire third quarter against the Thunder.

The 19 points were the fewest by any team in a half this season and tied for the second-fewest by a team in a half in the shot-clock era, surpassed only by the 16 points the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets scored against the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2006.

Of lesser historical significance, but also of note from this game:

• Kevin Durant extended his streak of consecutive 30 point games to five, four games shy of his career high.

• Serge Ibaka made at least 10 field goals in a game for the sixth time in his career. His 10-for-13 from the field was the second-best shooting performance in those games, trailing only an 11-for-13 against the Rockets last season.

• Reggie Jackson scored 23 points. He has scored at least that many in three games this season. In the past two seasons, he scored only 23 or more points once.

Iguodala's buzzer-beater keeps streak alive

January, 3, 2014

AP Photo/John BazemoreAndre Iguodala hit his second buzzer-beater of the season as the Warriors win their eighth straight game.
The saying goes that if “you live by the three, you die by the three”. The Golden State Warriors did a little bit of both Friday against the Atlanta Hawks. After Klay Thompson made the team’s first three attempts of the game from beyond the arc, the Warriors went ice cold – missing 18 straight. But in the last five minutes-and-change of the game, they hit three of six from deep including Andre Iguodala’s only three-pointer of the night at the buzzer.

Iguodala likes to beat buzzers
Iguodala has now played 23 games as a Warrior and has two buzzer-beaters – he also hit the game-winner as time expired on November 14 against the Thunder. Since entering the league in 2004-05, Iguodala has hit five buzzer-beaters. The only player to have more in that span is Joe Johnson with six.

Inside the comeback
The win gives the Warriors their first eight-game win streak since 2005. That streak looked to be in big trouble as the Warriors trailed by a game-high 15 points with just over six-and-a-half minutes left in the game. But they finished the game on a 25-9 run as Stephen Curry outscored the Hawks himself during that span with 11 points down the stretch.

Iguodala’s impact on the Warriors has been evident this season. When he was sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Warriors went just 5-7. With him they are now 17-6.

In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, when the Warriors starting five consists of Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, David Lee and Andrew Bogut, they are 17-3 this season. That is the second-best win percentage (0.85) of any starting five with a minimum of 10 games played together, behind the Oklahoma City Thunder’s starting five that used to be made up of Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka (17-2, .895).

The impact of Russell Westbrook's injury

December, 27, 2013

Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesRussell Westbrook is out until after the All-Star break following arthroscopic knee surgery
How much will the Oklahoma City Thunder miss Russell Westbrook after Friday’s announcement that he is out until after the All-Star break? Consider this, Westbrook and LeBron James are the only players averaging 20-points, five assists and five rebounds per game this season.

With Westbrook on the court, the Thunder are averaging nearly seven more points and five more assists per game.

They play at a much faster pace and create more fast break opportunities, ranking second in the NBA in pace with 101.1 possessions per 48 minutes.

When Westbrook is off the court, the Thunder rank dips to 16th with 96.7 possessions per 48 minutes.

In the month of December, Westbrook and the Thunder were operating on all cylinders posting a 12-2 record before his injury.

Westbrook’s true shooting percentage of 55.3 was on pace for a career high in a given month and the Thunder’s point differential of +11.1 was by far the best in the NBA.

Kevin Durant
will also miss his running mate as the two are the highest scoring duo in the NBA this season. Some of that scoring load will now be placed on the shoulders of Reggie Jackson who will be reinserted into the starting lineup.

Jackson has averaged a career-high 12.5 points per game and posted a career-best effective field goal percentage of 51 percent this season.

Much of Jackson’s success is due to his pick-and-roll efficiency as he’s become one of the league’s best scorers on pick-and-roll plays averaging 0.89 points per play (League Average: 0.73).

Which lineups work without Westbrook
Without Westbrook, head coach Scott Brooks will have to manipulate his lineup to produce the best results on both sides of the floor.

The Thunder’s most offensively efficient lineup, that didn’t include Westbrook, featured Durant, Jackson, Steven Adams, Nick Collison and Jeremy Lamb. This group averages 116.3 points per 100 possessions, the best rate among any Thunder lineup that has played at least 40 minutes together.

The most defensively efficient group featured Durant, Jackson, Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, and Thabo Sefolosha who limited opponents to 78.4 points per 100 possessions.

The Thunder are 3-1 without Westbrook this season, but the numbers show they need their point guard back healthy to maximize their offense and make a legitimate run at an NBA title.

Spurs, Parker look to roll at home in Game 5

June, 4, 2012
Matthew Emmonsj/US PresswireTony Parker needs to get back on track if the Spurs are going to win Game 5.
The Western Conference Finals head back to San Antonio for Game 5 tonight at 9 ET with the series knotted at two games apiece.

Spurs Keys to the Game
The San Antonio Spurs are looking to bounce back after suffering back-to-back losses following their near-record 20-game win streak. Both of those losses came on the road, however, and a return to the AT&T Center should provide a spark to the Spurs.

The Spurs are 6-0 at home this postseason, and the big difference has come on the offensive end. They are averaging 15 more points per game at home than on the road, and have thrived around the basket at home, where they are outscoring their opponents by 17 points per game in the paint.

Tony Parker needs to get back on track if the Spurs are going to take Game 5. He really struggled in Games 3 and 4, averaging just 14 points per game on 41 percent shooting.

He wasn’t as efficient running the pick-and-roll, making just 2-of-7 shots on those plays in the last two games, compared to 9-of-15 in Games 1 and 2.

In Game 3 the Spurs failed to produce on the interior, scoring a postseason-low 22 points inside five feet in the loss, nearly half has many points as they averaged in that area in the first two games.

In Game 4, San Antonio couldn't contain the Thunder's perimeter shooting. The Thunder were 19-of-37 (52 percent) from 15 feet and beyond on Saturday, after the Spurs had held them to 42 percent shooting from that distance in the first three games.

Thunder Keys to the Game
It may seem that the Oklahoma City Thunder have seized the momentum by winning Games 3 and 4 on their homecourt, but history suggests that is not necessarily true.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, entering these conference finals, 66 teams did what the Thunder did, winning Games 3 and 4 of a best-of-seven series after losing the first two games. In only 13 of those 66 instances did the team that evened the series with two wins go on to win the series.

In winning the last two games, the Thunder received huge contributions from their “non-Big 3” – Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. That trio nearly tripled their scoring output in Games 3 and 4 compared to Games 1 and 2.

Thabo Sefolosha has been the key defensive player for the Thunder in their two victories over the Spurs. Over the last two games, the Spurs are averaging almost 20 fewer points per 48 minutes when Sefolosha is on the court compared to when he is on the bench.

He has been effective limiting the Spurs guards on pick-and-rolls and when coming off screens. As the on-ball defender in those situations in Games 3 and 4, he allowed just four points (2-of-7 shooting) and forced five turnovers on 12 combined plays.

Stat of the Game
The Spurs have won each of the last five best-of-seven series they have played in which the series was tied 2-2 after four games. That is the second-longest current streak of its kind in the NBA behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who have won eight in a row, according to Elias.

Thunder paint Spurs into corner in Game 3

June, 1, 2012

Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesThe Thunder excelled with Russell Westbrook (L) on the floor in Thursday's Game 3 win over the Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs may have been due for a loss, but not this kind of loss.

The winners of 20 straight contests, San Antonio lost in grand fashion Thursday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, falling 102-82. It was just the Spurs' third loss this season by 20 points or more, and it was their lowest offensive output in the playoffs.

The Thunder, who now trail 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals, dominated in virtually every way in Game 3, but their advantage in the paint proved to be the difference. Oklahoma City outscored the conference’s top seed 44-24 in the lane. Nearly half of the Thunder’s shots came in the painted area, and they made 52.4 percent of those attempts.

Inside of 5 feet, the Thunder not only excelled offensively but also locked down the opponent. They scored 38 points (19-33 FG) from that distance Thursday night, holding the Spurs to a playoff-low 22 points on 11-of-20 from the field.

Pressure defense was also a key for the Thunder. They had 14 steals, including six by G Thabo Sefolosha, and San Antonio finished with 21 turnovers. That is the most turnovers by the Spurs in a playoff game since 2007, when they committed 23 against the Jazz in a win.

Those turnovers allowed Oklahoma City to get out and run. The West’s second seed outscored the Spurs 23-9 in transition, converting 10 of their 14 field goal attempts. San Antonio managed only two buckets in transition.

In the half court, the Thunder were able to take away one of the Spurs’ main weapons: the pick-and-roll. San Antonio scored 30 points off pick-and-roll plays in each of the first two games of the series, but the team was held to only 12 points on such plays in Game 3.

Tim Duncan finished with 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting. He did set a milestone by passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most blocks in playoff history (478), but it comes with a caveat: Blocks were not an official stat until 1973-74, Abdul-Jabbar’s fifth NBA season.

The Thunder were able to triumph despite star G Russell Westbrook scoring just 10 points. Westbrook contributed nine assists and four steals, though, and Oklahoma City outscored the Spurs by 29 points when he was on the court. Westbrook averaged 22.0 points in losses in Games 1 and 2.

While Kevin Durant poured in 22, it was a pair of unlikely players that provided the punch for Oklahoma City. Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka combined for 33 points in Game 3; they had just 22 points total in the first two games of the series.

If the Thunder continue to control the interior and transition game, they could give the Spurs fits. Tonight’s effort proved that the Thunder are very much alive in this series.