Triple doubles are nice, but Kiwi centre Steven Adams has again demonstrated how a big man can dominate a little man in the sport of basketball.

As his Oklahoma City Thunder capitulated 118-87 in the opening game of their NBA Western Conference playoff series against Houston Rockets, Adams stood his ground - literally - to send a message to his rivals.

I'm not backing down.

With the Thunder still only trailing by five points in the third quarter, Adams set a brutal mid-court screen for point guard Russell Westbrook, completing obliterating Rockets guard Patrick Beverley and helping set up a three-pointer for OKC forward Andre Roberson to narrow the margin.

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Beverley, who is also known as one of the league's most physical backcourt defenders, stayed down for a few seconds and seemed to indicate he wanted to leave, but quickly gave a "thumbs up" and continued.

"Steven Adams sat a good one on me, but I'm a dog, so none of that matters," Beverley said, after the game. "I'll be alright."

Beverley had the last laugh, though, finishing the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Adams had an otherwise quiet outing, scoring six points and grabbing five boards.

Westbrook led the Thunder with 22 points. 11 rebounds and seven assists, but was overshadowed by MVP rival James Harden, 37 points/nine assists/seven rebounds.