Basketball: Adams facing elimination

Steven Adams withstands the attentions of Tim Duncan to fire a pass to Derek Fisher during the Thunder's loss. Photo / Getty
Steven Adams withstands the attentions of Tim Duncan to fire a pass to Derek Fisher during the Thunder's loss. Photo / Getty

Steven Adams' remarkable rookie season could come to an end as early as Sunday after Oklahoma City dropped game five of the Western Conference Finals.

San Antonio dominated in all areas to win the pivotal clash 117-89, seizing a 3-2 lead in the series and advancing to one game away from a repeat trip to the NBA Finals.

With all five games so far in the series going the way of the home team, the Thunder will fancy their chances in game six back in Oklahoma, where a win would send the series to a decisive game seven in San Antonio.

If the Thunder are to achieve that objective, they will need to make massive improvements from today's game at the AT&T Center in Texas. San Antonio were unstoppable offensively, shooting 51 per cent from the field and an exceptional 50 per cent from behind the three-point line.

Having headed to the second quarter tied at 32, the Spurs outscored the Thunder by 10 points in each of the next two periods to quickly turn the game into a blowout.

The Spurs put six players in doube figures and were lead by 22 from Tim Duncan, while Manu Ginobli came off the bench to nail three of his four attempts from beyond the arc.

Adams was helpless to stop the offensive outburst, posting similar numbers to what he has recorded in the playoffs to date but unable to exert his influence defensively.

The Kiwi played 20 minutes and scored six points on three-of-four shooting, while also managing four rebounds and an assist. His contributions did come in meaningful minutes, being rested along side Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook - who combined for 46 points - during garbage time in the fourth quarter.

That may portend greater game time on Sunday, when the Thunder defence must repeat their efforts from the successful games three and four. Even if Adams has only one game left in his maiden campaign, the 20-year-old will have surpassed all expectations after being drafted No 12 overall last year.

The centre has become an integral part of the Thunder's title challenge and, having been a relative later-comer to organised basketball, his steady improvements throughout this season promise a bright future.

- APNZ

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