The 140-character stun grenades of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have struck yet again.
Morey tweeted out a photo on Monday showing Steven Adams putting James Harden in a chokehold of sorts in an apparent missed foul.
— Daryl Morey (@dmorey) April 24, 2017
The Rockets won Game 4 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday by the final of 113-109 to go up 3-1 in their first-round playoff series. But Morey and his Twitter alter ego appear to be taking this matchup with the Thunder quite personally, even dating back to the regular season. As such, it’s nice to know that we have some front office representation from #TeamPetty.
If the Oklahoma City Thunder don’t clean things up in a hurry, the Houston Rockets are going to make very quick work of them in the Western Conference quarterfinals. According to starting center Steven Adams, the improvement needs to start with him.
Following his team’s 118-87 loss, Adams put the blame on Oklahoma City’s front court and singled himself out.
“The turning point was not an exact moment, but offensive rebounds and second-chance points was what really killed us,” Adams said, per ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “The bigs, especially me, played trash on the reads, and the pick-and-rolls were absolute garbage. We have to get back to the drawing board.”
The Thunder out-rebounded opponents during the season, but Houston beat them 56-41 in that category on Sunday. The Rockets also outscored OKC 62-38 in the paint and an eye-popping 31-4 in second-chance points.
Thunder guard Victor Oladipo said the entire team needs to do a better job on the glass — not just the bigs.
“They just did a great job getting offensive rebounds,” he said. “We have to do a better job as guards to rebound collectively as a team. It’s not just on the bigs, it’s on everybody to rebound.”
The Rockets are a tremendous outside shooting team, so the Thunder tried to close out and make them beat them inside. James Harden had no problem with that, finishing with a game-high 37 points despite hitting just 3 of 11 three-pointers. Russell Westbrook, who many believe will win the NBA MVP Award over Harden, scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, which was a lone bright spot for OKC in that department.
Based on Harden’s criteria for being named MVP, he certainly got the best of Westbrook and the Thunder in Game 1. Adams is going to personally try to change that going forward.
It’s not often that you feel badly for a troll like Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, but after what Steven Adams did to him on Sunday night, it’s hard not to have some sympathy.
During the third quarter of Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series on Sunday night, Adams crushed Beverley with a massive screen. Take a look:
Steven Adams just crushes Pat Beverly on a screen pic.twitter.com/S4TUZ5SdEV
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) April 17, 2017
Beverley still had 21 and 10 in the 118-87 win over the Thunder, so he definitely got the last laugh.
Houston star James Harden, who scored 37 in the game, talked about Beverley after the game.
“He’s just a dog. He’s feisty. He’s going to play as hard as he can,” Harden said of Beverley in an interview with TNT. “He plays with a lot of energy, a lot of tenacity.”
And the man doesn’t even let getting knocked down like that keep him out.
Kevin Durant will make his much-awaited return to Oklahoma City Saturday, but Thunder center Steven Adams doesn’t appear to be buying into the drama.
Speaking with reporters before the game, Adams had this classic deadpan about why he doesn’t talk to Durant anymore, per Royce Young of ESPN.
Steven Adams on if he's talked to KD: "No." Why's that? "He's not on my team anymore."
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 11, 2017
That’s a mic drop moment right there, mate.
To his credit, this is just the standard way that Adams has handled business since Durant’s departure, unlike some of his fellow Thunder big men. In fact, the Durexit has really been a prime opportunity for Adams to up that quote game of his, so I guess there’s a silver lining to everything.
The latest 2013 first-round pick to land a contract extension on Deadline Day is none other than the delightful New Zealander known as Steven Adams.
According to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Monday, Adams and the Thunder are finalizing a four-year, $100 million extension.
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) October 31, 2016
Adams is only 23 years old, but he has already established himself as a top two-way force amongst NBA big men. He averaged 8.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game in 25 minutes a night in 2015-16 and is already beginning to improve on those numbers now he’s no longer sharing the Thunder frontcourt with the likes of Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.
Oklahoma City had indeed been expected to hammer out an extension for Adams. With Russell Westbrook signing an extension this past summer and Victor Oladipo agreeing to one earlier on Monday, Adams is now set to join them as an official member of the Thunder core moving forward.
- Steven Adams
The Oklahoma City Thunder may have lost Kevin Durant in free agency to the Golden State Warriors, but they’re working to keep a new core intact.
According to a report from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Thunder are talking with Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo about rookie contract extensions.
Sources: OKC engaged with Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo reps on rookie extension talks. Discussing Adams $100M-range, Oladipo $80M-range.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) October 30, 2016
Adams, 23, was a first-round pick by the Thunder in 2013 and has quickly developed into one of the better big men in the league. He emerged last postseason as he averaged 10.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for OKC. Adams is under contract for $3.1 million this season and has a $4.3 million qualifying offer for next season, but the Thunder would like to get him under contract for longer.
Oladipo, 24, was the No. 2 overall pick in 2013 and was acquired by the Thunder in the Serge Ibaka trade. He has displayed a strong overall game, including 43 percent shooting, 80.8 percent from the line, and averages of 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4 assists per game during his career. Oladipo is making $6.5 million this season and can earn $8.5 million for his qualifying offer next season.
Kevin Garnett was legendary for both his play and his trash talk, and Steven Adams has a great story about how he managed to avoid the latter.
The Oklahoma City Thunder big man told reporters on Sunday that he managed to avoid Garnett’s trash talk by telling him that he didn’t speak English.
Steven Adams said Kevin Garnett stopped trash talking him because Adams convinced him he couldn't speak English. pic.twitter.com/ZIWmzAWkMx
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) September 25, 2016
“He didn’t talk to me at all,” Adams said. “I played the English card one time. He said something and I was like, ‘no, no English man, sorry.’ He left me alone, which is brilliant.”
That’s one way to handle Garnett. LeBron James had another way. Of course, Adams is from English-speaking New Zealand, so Garnett either didn’t put two and two together or simply didn’t care.