In today's NBA, it's not often you'll have a match involving two traditional centres. But when the Oklahoma City Thunder met the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday (NZ time), the key match up was in the post.
Kiwi big man Steven Adams squared off against former defensive player of the year Dwight Howard in a tantilising individual battle for those who still appreciate the post game. Adams, the league leader in offensive rebounds per game, going against one of the best defensive rebounders the game has seen.
But Howard, who had 17 rebounds on the night, was often outmatched on the glass by the physical Adams, who snatched seven offensive rebounds on his way to an impressive line of 14 points, 11 rebounds, four blocks and three steals as OKC left North Carolina with a 101-91 win to halt a three-match losing streak.
After only making two shots in his last outing, Adams started his night the right way with three made baskets inside the opening four minutes. The Kiwi capitalised on his offensive rebounding prowess, with all three of his opening shot attempts being put-backs from misses.
Adams posted eight points and four rebounds in the opening quarter to help OKC build a 31-28 lead after the opening 12 minutes.
They might have opened as the better side, but the second and third quarters weren't kind to OKC as shots weren't dropping. The Hornets claimed the lead heading into the half-time break, and held it through the third quarter in a 12-minute spell where both sides simply shot terribly.
Trailing by three points with a quarter to play, it was the OKC bench who stepped up, coming in to drain three shots from beyond the arc in succession to grab the lead and bust it open.
The Thunder's bench combined for 35 important points on 12-26 shooting in the match, making up for another subpar shooting performance from forward Carmelo Anthony who shot just 3-14.
With the burst from their bench, the starters came back in and got the job done, running away with a comfortable victory.
The Thunder will now look to ride the momentum from their win into their match against the struggling Sacramento Kings on Tuesday (NZ time), with the Kings a touch shorthanded - missing impressive rookie back-up guard Frank Mason III due to a heel injury.