Basketball: Adams and Thunder see off Spurs

By Kris Shannon

From throwing up before the game to recording potentially his best performance of the playoffs - Steven Adams keeps finding new ways to impress.

The Kiwi overcame an untimely migraine to produce yet another stand-out effort as Oklahoma City eliminated San Antonio yesterday, setting up a date with the defending champion Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

The Thunder appeared set for a game six blowout after taking a 24-point lead into halftime, before Tim Duncan turned back the clock in what could be the last game of his exemplary career to help the Spurs mount a resistance. But led by Kevin Durant's 37 points, the home side held on to win 113-99 and move a step closer to the NBA title.

Achieving that goal will be far from easy, given the record-setting Warriors and two-time MVP Stephen Curry now stand in their way. But Oklahoma City can take heart from overturning a 2-1 deficit and winning four straight games against the star-studded Spurs, many observers' second-favourite for the crown.

And the Thunder will also be boosted by the ascendant form of Adams, who emerged from the series as the Thunder's third-best player behind All Star duo Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Adams recorded his third consecutive double-double to help see off the Spurs, grabbing 15 points on six-of-seven shooting and adding 11 rebounds. He played 40 minutes in the clinching win - even more than Westbrook - and also chimed in with two steals and a block.

Such an output was made all the more impressive by the revelation of Adams' unenviable pre-game preparation. The 22-year-old was struck down by a migraine before the game, a problem that has afflicted him since he was 14, left throwing up and needing an IV to even take the court.

"I know it's coming on because I'll be looking at you and your face will, like, disappear," Adams told reporters after the game. "That's when I know I'm going to get one. I get nauseous, start throwing up, get a thumping headache that feels like someone with a sledgehammer pounding at the back of my right eye. I just pretty much feel like absolute garbage."

But Adams showed no ill effects of that feeling as he advanced his series averages to 11.0 points and 11.3 rebounds, keen to downplay his rapid recovery after reaching the Western Conference finals for the second time in three years.

"Don't think I'm a hero or anything," he said. "It's just modern medicine, mate."

But there was one aspect of suffering migraines that particularly irked Adams, known as much for his love of food as his physical play on the court.

"It sucks because I get nauseous, so if I eat a food and then throw it up, I'm off that food for life. It sucks. I've actually had some favourite foods that I no longer like because of it."

Adams will be hoping the migraine problem doesn't resurface in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals against the Warriors, which tips off in Oakland on Tuesday afternoon (NZT).

- NZ Herald

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