Adams Likely To Start Against Clippers

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was on the practice floor shooting free throws when reporters were allowed inside the gym area at the INTEGRIS Health Thunder Development Center but Perkins will not play against the LA Clippers Sunday.

That means rookie Steven Adams will more than likely replace Perk in the starting lineup for the third time this season but head coach Scott Brooks wasn't ready to fully commit to that plan right after Saturday's practice.

"That's likely but it's not etched in stone right now, but we definitely have some options there,  but he's a good choice."

The Thunder could opt to go small but Brooks admitted that probably wouldn't be the best decision against the Clippers who have two very active bigs in former OU star Blake Griffin at power forward and DeAndre Jordan at center.

Adams has some experience starting against L.A., he got the nod back in November when Perkins had to leave the team for a couple of games after the death of his grandfather.

Adams played almost 22 minutes that night, hit three of his four shots and scored seven points. He also grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot. Jordan took advantage of his inexperience though, soring 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Brooks said he's been happy with the progress Adams has made since then and continues to make this season.

"He's developed at a pace that we're very happy with and he's gonna get more opportunities now."

Maybe a lot more depending on how long Perkins is out. An MRI revealed nothing more than a strained left groin for Perk but he will be seen by a specialist next week.

Adams continues to take everything in stride, "it's just all about getting better really, same stuff."

Adams will spend much of his time guarding Jordan whom Adams said can be "annoying."

"He's strong because he has a really solid, low base and then he flies as well. He'll hit you and then quickly move around and hit you again. He's really annoying."

Adams has been rather annoying to some opponents this season too. He has tangled up with some other big men, been hit, even punched a few times but he has never retaliated, usually just turning to his teammates and smiling instead.

He might just as well be smiling about how much his game has improved since the first meeting with the Clippers.

"I think my game's gone up quite a bit, especially on the defensive end. That's always what I'm working on. I'm getting a lot more comfortable and noticing stuff before it happens, where at the same of the season they'd be doing it right in front of me and I'd be like, what? What is that?"

Though a final decision won't be made until closer to game time tomorrow, it appears Adams will get a chance to show off what improvements he's made tomorrow when the Thunder and the Clippers tipoff at noon.