Steven Adams has claimed yet another victim.
The Kiwi NBA rookie has developed an uncanny knack for getting under the skin of his more experienced opponents and Milwaukee's Larry Sanders was the latest to lash out on Sunday.
Bucks centre Sanders was ejected from Chesapeake Energy Arena for throwing two elbows at Adams in the second quarter of Oklahoma City's 101-85 home win.
He is the fourth player to lose his rag with Adams' physical but legal play.
Denver's pint-sized point guard Nate Robinson was the first, fined US$10,000 (NZ$12,000) for striking Adams in the chest during a pre-season game.
Dallas' eight-time all-star Vince Carter was next, tossed from a game for elbowing Adams in the head.
And then Denver forward Jordan Hamilton was ejected for punching the 2.13m centre and No 12 draft pick.
The common denominator in all the incidents was Adams' reaction.
Not once did he flinch, retaliate or show any real emotion.
However, he did shoot a sly smile to a delighted Oklahoma City bench as Sanders was given his marching orders on Sunday.
"You know what he does really well? He just plays hard," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
"And I look at that as a talent. Guys that play hard, to me, that's talent ... Whether it gets under guys' skin, I don't particularly know why, but he plays hard and he doesn't want to get into pushing and shoving and looking at you and staring. He just plays hard and goes down to the next play."
Adams and the 28-9 Thunder continue their pursuit of the Western Conference title against the Grizzlies in Memphis tomorrow.
- The Dominion Post
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