Steven Adams es­tab­lished early in game against Bulls

The Oklahoman - - SPORTS | BUSINESS - Erik Horne [email protected]­la­

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.

Re­mem­ber Payne?

His hair is a lit­tle shorter. He’s filled out some. But he’s still un­mis­tak­ably

Cameron Payne.

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.

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