Thunder Lose Game And Steven Adams
By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Losing the first game of the preseason doesn't really matter but losing Steven Adams does.
Kid Kiwi was pulled to the floor by James Harden in the middle of the 3rd quarter last night as he was going up for a shot. Harden was whistled for a flagrant foul and Adams left the court for the locker room and didn't return to see the end of Oklahoma City's 104-97 loss to Houston.
"I'll be fine mate, they got me on some drugs," Adams joked while talking with reporters after the game. He's had some back issues in the past but this time the Thunder center said the pain seemed to be mostly in his glute rather than his lower back so he's not expected to miss much time.
That would be good news for the the Thunder who haven't been able to see much of Patrick Patterson or Alex Abrines on the practice floor yet and Russell Westbrook also sat out as he recovers from a PRP injection. Patterson is recovering from off-season left knee surgery and Abrines continues to be bothered by a sore left knee. A situation that would seem to be more worrisome the longer it lingers.
In the game the Thunder struggled at times on both ends of the floor as new teammates worked to get accustomed to each other.
Carmelo Anthony got off to a hot start, scoring the first 10 Thunder points. He finished with 19 on 7-for-13 shooting (3-for-5 on threes). Paul George got off to a slow start but finished with 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting (1-for-3 on threes).
"I think sometimes we were overthinking it a little bit and trying to be a little too unselfish out there," Anthony said.
"One time I had a wide-open shot and I gave it to Paul and he shot it with like three seconds to go and I know how that feel, so felt bad about that but, those are the things we are getting better at and knowing each other’s game and knowing who is on the court, and getting more comfortable and used to the guys out there.”
“We’re just working on rhythm" George said.
"Coach is trying to tie myself in, trying to tie Melo in. Even besides us two, there are still a lot of new faces in this crew, so that’s all it is, trying to build on both ends and form a new team. We’re all a team in this and we are trying to figure this out on the fly. Once Russ comes back we will start to trend toward how we are going to look, how we are going to play. It is good for us to get our feet wet and see where we are at.”
The Thunder don't have as much time this season to figure things out in training camp and preseason games. With Opening Night for OKC coming on October 19th the team will have about 10 days less to get ready than in previous seasons.
"Obviously these guys just learning different things, especially with the new guys," Adams said. "Then main thing was just getting the terminology down, because obviously they’re used to… they go into instinct mode and they’re used to certain words. It just shows what we need to work on."
Overall the Thunder were held to 40.8 percent shooting and 38.5 percent on threes. The Rockets were a bit better at 42.3 percent overall but the big difference in the game was the shear volume of 3-pointers Houston put in the air...55. The Rockets hit 24 of those leading to 72 of their 104 points.
“The game is definitely changing. That’s outrageous. The only way to adjust is more on our end, we have to minimize those opportunities,” Adams said. “It’s running them off properly and making sure they don’t get those attempts.”
And those are things the Thunder can work on but for now it was just a good feeling, especially for Anthony, to get back out on the court.
“That feel is back. That joy,” Melo said. “Being happy out there on the court again. Being excited, being motivated to be out there on the court again. That feeling is back for me.”
The Thunder won't practice Wednesday, using it as a "rest and recovery" day instead. The preseason home opener is Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.