Steven Adams making a mark with Thunder
Kiwi NBA rookie Steven Adams has produced one of his more influential displays for the Oklahoma City Thunder in today's 117-96 home victory over the Denver Nuggets.
The 20-year-old centre played 23 minutes and finished with 10 points (4/6 FG, 2/4 FT), six rebounds and an astonishing six steals as the Thunder improved to 52-18 for the season - two games behind the San Antonio Spurs at the top of the Western Conference standings.
It was one of Adams' busier offensive games since he has slotted into the starting centre position, with the 2.13-metre Kiwi able to finish nicely round the rim on several occasions.
But his six steals - understood to be a rookie record for the centre position - were also a sure-fire indication of how much more comfortable he is now at the defensive end.
The Thunder, who have now won four straight, were paced by Kevin Durant's 27 points (10/21 FG) and eight assists, while Caron Butler added 23 points off the bench and Reggie Jackson - starting at point guard for Russell Westbrook - added 16 points and 11 assists. The Spurs comfortably defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 113-91 to maintain their advantage over the pursuing Thunder.