Minnesota Had No Answer For The Big Kiwi
By: A. Suave Francisco
If you would've heard that Oklahoma City's Steven Adams would outscore Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony combined in a game against the (13-9) Minnesota Timberwolves, you'd probably bet your pocket that the (8-12) Thunder lost that game.
Well, hopefully, you didn't place that bet because Steven Adams finished Friday night's game with 27 points, on a perfect 11-of-11 shooting.
Russell Westbrook played the facilitator role, only notching 15 points, but almost equally getting assists with 14 and nine rebounds. Carmelo Anthony didn't have a bad game by any means, but he didn't shoot the ball as much, just 4-of-7 for 9 points on the night.
Westbrook and Anthony, two very ball-dominant players, sacrificed their individual games for Adams at an early juncture in which they saw a monumental mismatch in the paint.
Early in the game, Karl Anthony-Towns and Andre Roberson butted heads, which landed them in the locker room to get stitches. Adams used that time to use and abuse Minnesota's front-court while Towns was getting attended to, scoring 9 points in the first period.
Nothing changed when Towns re-entered the game. By the second quarter, Adams built his confidence to the point where no one on the T-Wolves could out-play or out-hustle him. Towns' energy level simply never matched Adams'.
Adams having the game he had opened things up on the perimeter, due to the focus being on him. Paul George was the player that benefitted the most. Notching a game-high 36 points, George was getting more uncontested shot attempts than he has all season and shot an impressive 5-of-9 from long distance. Not to mention, his 11-of-11 shooting from the free-throw line.
Oklahoma City fans had to be satisfied with the way OKC's star-power sacrificed their game for the betterment of the team and seeing the bigger picture. Forgoing a high scoring night because of a clear mismatch.
Regardless the outcome of Friday night's game, Oklahoma City has to play the (15-7) San Antonio Spurs on Sunday evening. In OKC lost their first game against the Spurs, 104-101 in another comeback effort by an opponent. Steven Adams finished with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, so maybe he can use this game as a confidence builder and capitalize on any potential matchup advantages on Sunday.