Playful Steven Adams shows his Kiwi side
A playful and relaxed Steve Adams had US reporters in stitches following his team's Round 1 playoff series win.
Wearing a Chiefs Super Rugby jersey, the humble Oklahoma City Thunder centre heaped praise on his team-mates for helping him prepare for the intense series and said he was having the time of his life.
''Oh my God. You would love it. Trust me, this feels thoroughly good,'' he told reporters in a post-game media conference after the win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
His performance had Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV remarking that Adams could make a ''fantastic living emceeing events across the country'' if he were to leave the NBA.
But it doesn't seem the rookie centre will be doing that anytime soon. After being used sparingly in the first five games, Adams played a solid 20 minutes in Game 6 and 25 minutes in Game 7.
There are signs that some good-natured rivalry might exist between Adams and Kendrick Perkins, the big man whom Adams is competing with for floor minutes.
Perkins was asked on Friday whether Adams reminded him of himself.
''Yeah,'' Perkins replied, according to The Oklahoman.
''Except for the athleticism part.''
But while Adams hasn't been a huge offensive threat, on defence he's infuriated his opponents so much that some have taken a swing at him.
In Game 6 Zach Randolf, the Grizzlies All-Star forward, nailed Adams with a punch across the jaw. Referees didn't see it at the time - and Adams claimed he didn't even feel it.
''My mind's really slow. It didn't process straight away,'' Adams said.
But the refs caught it on replay and Randolf was suspended for Game 7 - a huge loss that might have cost Memphis the game.
During the regular season, Nate Robinson, Vince Carter, Jordan Hamilton and Larry Sanders were all either ejected or suspended for hitting Adams with their fists, elbows or forearms. Adams picked up only a single technical foul in all of those incidents.
The Thunder face the LA Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals that begin tomorrow. The Clippers, who have been embroiled in controversy following racist remarks by team owner Donald Sterling, boast one of the most dynamic centres in Blake Griffin, a four-time All Star and winner of the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
The two teams split the four-game regular-season series and look, at least on paper, to be evenly matched.
''It'll be interesting to see what kind of pace the game will be on Monday [tomorrow NZ time], I think for both teams,'' Clippers guard J.J. Redick said.
''But we'll get our rest and we'll figure it out.''
Game 1: Clippers at Oklahoma City. Tomorrow, 1.30pm.
Game 2: Clippers at Oklahoma City. Thursday, 1.30pm.
Game 3: Oklahoma City at Clippers. Saturday, 2.30pm.
Game 4: Oklahoma City at Clippers. Monday, 7.30am.
Game 5 (if necessary): Clippers at Oklahoma City. Wednesday, TBD.
Game 6 (if necessary): Oklahoma City at Clippers. Friday, TBD.
Game 7 (if necessary): Clippers at Oklahoma City. Monday, TBD.
The punch against Steven Adams that got Zach Randolph suspended:
Vine of the Zach Randolph punch https://t.co/vcB0fUifOs