Steven Adams established early in game against Bulls
CHICAGO — Steven
Adams is so big and has been in the Thunder organization so long, you forget he’s only 25.
The first half against the Bulls on Friday, however, was a stark reminder of Adams’ experience.
The two front court players assigned to stop him were 21 and 19, and Adams treated them as such, scoring 17 first-half points.
Adams had all 10 of the Thunder’s points in the first four minutes, finishing through contact that went uncalled for much of a physical first half.
Adams finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but made just 3-of-7 foul shots as the Thunder finished 16-of-24 from the line (66.7 percent), costly in a 114-112 loss.
For all of Adams’ firsthalf success, he struggled finishing through contact in the second half, shooting just 2-of-6 from the field.
Second unit struggles
For all the Thunder’s poor shooting in the first half Friday, Dennis Schroder and Hamidou Diallo weren’t to blame.
Schroder scored nine points in the second and finished with 19, finding holes in the Bulls defense on drives and rhythm on his jump shot. In his second game back from a left ankle sprain, Diallo looked much better, skying for an offensive rebound and a powerful dunk in the first half.
Aside from Schroder and Diallo, though, the Thunder’s second unit struggled to make open shots.
Alex Abrines, Patrick
Patterson and Nerlens Noel missed their first six shots before Abrines hit a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter. The trio combined to shoot 2-of-9.
His hair is a little shorter. He’s filled out some. But he’s still unmistakably
The former Thunder guard scored five points for the Bulls. Payne was drafted 13th overall by the Thunder in 2015, but was traded in 2017 to the Bulls as part of the deal that sent Taj Gibson and Doug
McDermott to Oklahoma City.
“I liked Cameron a lot,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Cam was a good player. Cameron’s biggest challenge is he’s been hurt a lot. He was hurt with us with his foot, then he came here and got hurt, so he probably never got his footing, rhythm or flow. I think if he stays healthy, he can be a really good player.”
Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams, right, shoots over Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. during Friday’s game in Chicago.