Adams Watch: the Kiwi steps up on D in win over Clippers

Stephen Dunn

Steven Adams played outstanding defense against one of the best power forwards in the NBA, Blake Griffin. It looks like he is finally forming into a defensive anchor that everyone hopes he will be.

Hey guys, it has been a while since we analyzed our favorite New Zealander.  This edition of Adams Watch is focusing on one specific game, because Steven Adams was awesome against the Clippers.

Adams has been playing phenomenally.  It seems as though Coach Brooks has given the rook a bit more playing time on occasion. And Adams certainly has contributed, especially last night.

Against the lethal big men, Deandre Jordan and Blake Griffin, Adams stepped up and helped to shut them out.  Though it does not seem evident on the stat sheet, Blake Griffin barely scored in the paint. Most of his points came from fast breaks.  While most of the game was Serge guarding Griffin, when Ibaka took a blow, Adams did a phenomenal job of covering the powerhouse.  By utilizing his big frame and tough defensive skills, Griffin had lots of trouble scoring on the Kiwi.

Griffin_missed_layup_2_medium

In this game, Adams finished with 7 points, 7 rebounds, a steal, and a block. Adams' aggressiveness and behind the scenes defensive work that stunned Griffin and the big men.  The thing that makes Blake Griffin so dominant is his strength and ability to finish.  Steven Adams matched his strength and contested his shots while avoiding too many fouls, as you can see above.

Missed_layup_3_medium

Adams got a little help from Griffin, though.  Blake Griffin is known for his high flying ability to dunk when he works in the paint. In this .gif, it's as if he has glue on his sneakers, because he barely makes it off the ground.  Adams, who stands at 7 feet tall, had an easier time with Griffin here because he did not need to fall for a pump fake nor did he need to jump to contest.  All he needed to do was use his long arms.

The Thunder utilized their size and the big men worked flawlessly together.  How do I know this?  The Clippers only made 50 percent of their shots in the paint.  Specifically, OKC held Griffin to 47 percent shooting, as opposed to his average of 52.

I will be completely honest.  When I saw Adams on Griffin, I immediately said to myself ,"uh oh."  But what was an uh oh turned into an oh yeah because the rook surprised me.  This could be a sneak preview into the upcoming years of Steven Adams.  He may become Oklahoma City's defensive anchor, he has the potential.

But Adams showed not only signs of defensive dominance. He also rebounded aggressively, as seen on this offensive rebound.  Though it is blurry, you can clearly see Adams fight hard for the rebound then slam it down.


It will be interesting to see how Adams performs as the post season comes around and to see how he produces on defense against elite big men, like Blake Griffin.

I loved what I saw in Adams this game.  Hopefully he shows this aggressiveness in the playoffs.

What did you think of the Steven Adams' performance against the Clippers?  Let us know in the comments!

Kiwi Up!

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