OKC Thunder centre Steven Adams has always been a steely defensive presence but is now adding offensive firepower to his arsenal
06 December, 2017, 09:14
The reason for his emergence? George added 21 points, while Carmelo Anthony scored 14 points.
But it was a stretch early in the fourth quarter with Westbrook and two of the Thunder's other starters on the bench that lit the fuse in Oklahoma City's 100-94 win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"(Andre) Roberson's one of the best defenders in the league, Paul George is one of the best defenders in the league. Balanced scoring has helped the Pistons in big games, but they are missing a go-to scorer late in games. "It should be one point for Steven and one point for Carmelo. Leaving it all on the floor, you seen it tonight".
The Raptors have now scored 100 or more points in 10 consecutive games. He's catching it in the lane, he's making floaters, and if he doesn't have a floater, he's making extra passes. George and Donovan spoke after Sunday's game about Anthony's sacrifice, with Anthony saying he's willing to do whatever it is the team needs from him. "Steven's not doing really anything different from maybe he's done in the past". "I thought in the third quarter he gave them a lot of energy and gave them points".
"It's very satisfying when the bench comes in and we don't retreat, we don't have any lapses", Thunder forward Patrick Patterson said. "We found something that was working, stayed with it and made them make the adjustment". But the message was loud and clear: The Thunder play at their best when they take advantage of the space provided by their stars, rather than forcing the issue.
"That's good, mate", the New Zealander said.
Mitchell scored on a layup to pull the Jazz back to within one. Even later in the clock, it's going to come back. "We've got to be able to play through that".
The Thunder played a sloppy, disjointed first half that featured only 39 points and 15 turnovers, but found a small spark in the third quarter from Westbrook.
Adams looked bemused as he turned onto defence after sinking the bucket. He also racked up 14 assists and 13 rebounds for his seventh triple-double of the season.
"Russ had a win-at-all-cost attitude", George said.
"I thought we ran out of steam a little bit just emotionally". "When we're patient on offense, Steven's going to get those opportunities". "That's the most important part". "I though Russell and his never-say-die attitude when we got down there, just kept us alive".
Rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points and Joe Ingles added 16 for the Jazz, who had won six straight and scored at least 106 points in each game.