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Steven Adams Carries Thunder to Victory in Paul George’s Return to Indiana

Steven Adams Carries Thunder to Victory in Paul George’s Return to Indiana

There was plenty of anticipation ahead of Wednesday night’s match-up between the Thunder and Pacers. It was Paul George’s return to Indiana as a visitor, Victor Oladipo versus the guy who held him back in Oklahoma City, and a bevy of other storylines surrounding the nationally-televised game.

In the end it was Steven Adams that stole the show.

Adams contributed 23 points and 13 rebounds on 11/16 shooting, carrying the Thunder offense on a night that saw the “OK3” shoot a combined 10/45 from the field. Oklahoma City hit 13 shots from long distance and got an unexpected boost from the bench — escaping Indiana with a 100-95 win.

Full highlights:

The win moves the Thunder to 13-14 on the season ahead of Friday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Let’s get to the notes on the win over Indiana.

Steven Adams Was Elite

Steven Adams was the best player on the floor for the Thunder tonight, wrapping up his evening with 23 points and 13 rebounds on 11/16 shooting. It was his ninth double-double of the season and his fourth 20+ point scoring effort in seven December games.

His highlights:

Although he buoyed the Thunder offense with another outstanding shooting effort, the biggest play of his night came on the defensive end. OKC was up three with 15.3 seconds remaining and the Pacers were inbounding the ball near halfcourt. Adams put enough pressure on Thaddeus Young to force an Indiana turnover — and Paul George iced the game after a pair of free throws.

The play:

The play was a perfect ending to Adams’ night and further proof that he’s a difference-maker on both ends. He was a monster for the Thunder tonight.

OK3 Disappoints

Final stat lines for each member of the OK3:

Westbrook: 10 pts, 17 reb, 12 ast, 3/17 FG, +2

George: 12 pts, 5 ast, 3/14 FG, -3

Melo: 12 pts, 5 reb, 4/14 FG, +1

That’s a combined shooting effort of 10/45 (22 percent) — and another night where the offense never clicked for the three men. Below is their total shot chart — again showing a very heavy dependence on mid-range jumpers.

The Thunder getting a win under these circumstances is fairly unimaginable and certainly not something that can be reliably replicated. These guys are running in circles and have yet to show much progress.

Notes & Highlights

PG’s Indy Greeting. Paul George was booed in pre-game shootarounds, booed during introductions, and booed every time he touched the basketball in his 33 minutes of action. He shot 3/14 from the field and never looked truly comfortable on his former home floor — but did ice the game with two free throws before shushing the crowd on his way to the bench.

The Bench. The Thunder bench was instrumental in the winning effort — combining to score 29 points on 10/19 shooting. Patrick Patterson had his best performance in a Thunder uniform, wrapping up his evening with 8 points on 2/3 shooting from downtown and a +4.

Third Quarter Counter. The Thunder led 51-46 at halftime — and then watched the Pacers open up the third quarter on an 11-2 run. It looked like another instance of the second half meltdowns but the team responded by outscoring Indiana 20-12 in the remainder of the quarter. Not allowing the Pacers to blow the doors off to open the third quarter was a big win.

Three-Point Shooting. Oklahoma City knocked down 13 of 29 attempts from long distance — including 4/6 from Alex Abrines. The Pacers came in with the second-best three-point percentage in the NBA, but it was OKC that did the most damage from deep.


  • OKC won 52-42 on the glass but lost 38-44 in the paint.
  • The Thunder took a 26-18 advantage in assists
  • Another poor night at the stripe — 15/24 (62.5%)
  • Was Westbrook’s ninth triple-double of the season
  • Oladipo finished with 19 points on 9/26 shooting


Steven Adams discusses the win on Fox Sports Oklahoma.