Steven Adams is a tough dude and no one is questioning that. However, he’s clearly hurt and as much as we want everything to be OK it isn’t, and as much as Adams wants us to believe he’s fine he’s not.
Adams hurt his right arm on a dunk late in last Sunday’s Game One. It was a statement to a team that pride’s itself on protecting the rim, and a momentum booster at a moment where the Thunder were taking control of the game, but something went significantly wrong.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 16, 2018
No one is saying what everyone knows though. Steven Adams is hurt. Between Games One and Two he had some cupping done on his right shoulder but when pressed about it by the media, the big man wasn’t talking.
Steven Adams did some cupping on his right shoulder last night, but didn’t take the bait today if it had to do with any injury issue: pic.twitter.com/MB5mq4h4FQ
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 19, 2018
Head coach Billy Donovan even went so far as to flat out deny that Adams has an injury, but he can’t deny what our eyes are seeing. Adams switched to his left arm at the tip-off of Game Two and, despite winning the possession, he was off to a much less productive outing than Game One.
His offensive stats weren’t that far off from Game One to Game Two. He shot 4-of-9 on Sunday, for 12 points, and was 4-of-5, for 9 points, on Wednesday. In both games he grabbed seven rebounds, so where’s the problem?
Utah center Rudy Gobert was able to double his free throw attempts from Sunday to Wednesday as the Jazz looked to exploit a clearly hampered Adams. Oklahoma City’s man in the middle was limited to just 22 minutes in second game before eventually fouling out. At one point in the fourth quarter Adams disappeared to the locker room for a little while. He reemerged with black kinesio tape on his right arm, from his shoulder to his wrist.
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 19, 2018
Something is clearly wrong here and the Thunder may need a miraculous recovery to survive. Utah’s big men smell blood in the water (Derrick Favors also went off for 20 points and 16 rebounds in Game Two) and they’ll look to exploit a perceived weakness until Adams can prove otherwise.