Steven Adams is a Huge Part of the Thunder's Current Win Streak.
If there was ever a game were Steven Adams needed to play with a chip on his shoulder, it's this Wednesday night when the Pacers are in town. The last time these two teams met Domantas Sabonis was collecting his fifth straight double-double going 18 and 16 while Steven Adams was having a five for eight-night with 10 points and six rebounds. State-wise, those numbers are about on par with what Adams has been doing for his career and this season. Maybe we shouldn't have been shocked by that performance, but you couldn't help notice that at times, Adams looked awkward trying to guard Sabonis.
Ill effects from the knee contusion? Possibly. More likely, it's just that Sabonis is the better player. Sabonis almost doubles Adams in points and rebounds (18.5 points 13 rebounds per game); he's also playing more minutes. Of course, Sabonis is three years younger and doesn't have the wear and tear Adams has been putting on his body since coming into the association six years ago.
Adams is in unfamiliar territory in his Thunder tenure. He's expected to be a bigger part of the offense, although that depends on him continuing to get touches throughout the game. In the Thunder's win over New Orleans, this past Friday Adams abused Jaxson Hayes, Alvin Gentry then pulled Jahlil Okafor off the bench and Adams barely touched the ball again till the waning seconds. Adams came up with two huge baskets and sealed the win. On Sunday Okafor got the start (Gentry learning from his mistakes) and Adams was able to go off for 17 and 10. He would score seven of the last 11 of the Thunder's points and hit five of six free throws.
Adams is showing what he is capable of when he's healthy and getting the chance to contribute. After the Thunder's preseason opener against the Mavericks Adams said he and Chris Paul hadn't butted heads yet. He explained that needed to happen for the sake of the offense and them being able to understand how each other works best. If Paul and the other ball handlers haven't gotten the message that Adams works best when he's getting touches then it's time to have that uncomfortable conversation.
Despite what Adams numbers may have said in Indianapolis, he had to be embarrassed after getting shown up by a guy the Thunder discarded. If there was any time for Adams to show his more demanding side it's Wednesday night. The Thunder are on a two-game win streak in large part because of Adams. Now is not the time to regress.
Below is a note from Thunder PR if you're looking for a chance to go to the All-Star game in Chicago.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will host two regional shootout events for the NBA’s Hotshot Challenge. The NBA Hotshot Challenge is a new skills contest where fans compete by shooting from various locations across the court at live events and on their own through the HomeCourt app using augmented reality. The winning regional Thunder fan will have the opportunity to travel to the 2020 NBA All-Star in Chicago to represent the team on a national level and compete to become the overall NBA Hotshot Challenge Champion. The grand prize for the overall champion is a Hotshot Challenge trophy and a trip for two to the 2021 NBA All-Star in Indianapolis.
For more information on the NBA’s Hotshot Challenge including rules, visit okcthunder.com/challenge.