Basketball: Adams won't back down

By Kris Shannon

A knee in the privates won’t deter Oklahoma’s Kiwi hardman Steven Adams from giving it his all in game three.
Golden State's Draymond Green drives past Steven Adams during the Warriors' big win in game two. Photo / AP
Golden State's Draymond Green drives past Steven Adams during the Warriors' big win in game two. Photo / AP

After what transpired between the pair during Golden State's game two win over Oklahoma City, it's easy to understand Steven Adams' sentiment towards rival Draymond Green.

The combative big men have been clashing throughout the Western Conference finals, which are locked at one game apiece heading into tomorrow's game three. They memorably came together during the Warriors' win in game two - "coming together" being a delicate euphemism for, as one American writer put it, Green's knee hitting Adams "right in the kiwis".

It was the second time the Thunder centre suffered physically during the defeat, having already been forced from the floor with a back spasm.

Ahead of another duel with Green, Adams said taking a shot to a rather sensitive area was probably as bad as it would get.

"[Green's] peaked in annoyingness," he said.

"I'm still a man, that's all that matters, all I was concerned about."

Green, runner-up for the defensive player of the year award and one of the toughest players in the NBA, likely took Adams' assessment as a compliment.

"I just be me, if that's annoying, great," Green said when asked about Adams' comments. "Tell him thanks for letting me know, I appreciate it.

"My goal is definitely not to get in Steven Adams' head. I mean, if anybody, it's trying to get in KD [Kevin Durant] and [Russell] Westbrook's head."

Adams will definitely be in the heads of the Warriors after his performances in the opening two games.

His aggressiveness around the rim at both ends was a key factor in the Thunder's game-one victory but, after copping a couple of blows, his effectiveness waned in the rematch.

The defending champions were allowed to enjoy a big advantage in the rebounding battle, finding particular reward on the offensive glass as Adams' impact was negated by the injury sustained when Warriors centre Festus Ezeli landed on his back while wrestling under the rim.

But, with his team seeking to bounce back after that blowout loss, Adams said his health would not be an issue heading into game three in Oklahoma.

"I'm good to go," he said. "[The trainers] made my core really strong, and what was good about that play was I collapsed straight out of it and didn't try push back. They're bumps and bruises and, as soon as the adrenaline kicks in, that's all over.

"It's fine, you don't feel a thing. It isn't like I'm conscious of every single bump or anything like that - that would be annoying."

The irritation of Green, on the other hand, was obvious even before the accidental knee.

After driving strongly on Adams early in the game, the Warriors forward was keen to let his opponent know about his success, getting in Adams' ear as the duo trotted back down the court.

But the Kiwi - notorious for showing no reaction no matter what is said or done - insisted the trash-talking was having no effect on his game.

"I hear he talks a lot, I see him when I'm on the bench," Adams said. "But when I'm in the game, nah, it's quite hard. I can't really understand him.

"If it's the accent, I don't know. The pronunciation is a lot different to what I normally hear."

- Herald on Sunday

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