Thunder Notebook: Thursday, April 19
Big Kiwi’s Injury Mystery
I’ll be completely honest – I have no idea if Steven Adams is hurt or not. I mean, it seems like he is. It has certainly looked like it. Then again, he says he’s fine and the organization seems to be backing him up on the matter. It’s not like they’ve ever misled anyone when it comes to injuries.
For the unfamiliar, Adams appeared to hurt his hand on a tomahawk alley-oop in the fourth quarter of Game 1. He was seen favoring it as he made his way back down the court.
Deadspin ran a piece today titled “The Thunder Are Being Shady About Steven Adams’s Possibly Injured Arm.” In it, Giri Nathan pointed out something I didn’t realize about last night. Apparently Adams — who is right-handed — did the jump ball with his left hand. That’s….strange. Considering he also had tape on his hand for much of the contest, it’s fair to assume that he is, in fact, ailing. Plenty of smoke here.
When asked about his status at today’s media session, Adams repeatedly said he’s “fine” and assured there’s no issue moving forward. Via Erik Horne:
But is he? Is he, though? It kind of feels like something is afoot here. I mean, it could be nothing. I also wouldn’t be surprised if I’m writing a “Steven Adams played with a broken hand” piece when the playoffs come to an end. Either way, here’s to hoping for a more effective Big Kiwi in Game 3. He’s averaged 10.5 points and 7 rebounds through two games, but Rudy Gobert is getting the best of him in the all-important match-up at the center position.
Walking Back “Playoff P”
“Playoff P” was all the rage after a wildly efficient/effective Game 1 performance, but Paul George’s tone was remarkably different after he struggled in Game 2. Speaking on the nickname in the postgame press conference, he said, “There’s no stress. It’s not like it’s a name I’m trying to live up to…”
Giving himself a nickname was a clear violation of nickname etiquette but the world let it slide because Playoff P certainly seemed like a real thing after dropping 36 points on 8-of-11 shooting from long distance in Game 1. However, there’s no turning back, Paul. The cat is out of the bag, the tiger is out of the cage, and you are Playoff P now. You better get stressed because these Playoff P shirts aren’t going to sell themselves.
(I won’t apologize for the shameless plug.)
La La Land
Speaking of Paul George… According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers are still fully intent on chasing LeBron James and Paul George in this summer’s free agency period.
This is going to get so ridiculous, guys. We’re one playoff exit away from poor Photoshops of George in a Lakers jersey being the weapon of choice for Internet trolls. Bombs away.
Through two games of the first round, Carmelo Anthony is averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds — not bad, right? Well, he’s also shooting 11-of-31 (35 percent) from the floor and just 4-of-16 (25 percent) from downtown. That’s bad, right?
For all of the hand-wringing we’ve all done about Melo this season, it’s not like he hasn’t adapted his game to fit what the Thunder theoretically needs from him. He’s not taking a tremendous amount of shots in the mid-range and he’s getting plenty of open looks from beyond the arc. It’s just… you know… he’s not making those shots. Kind of defeats the entire purpose.
I mean — look how far we’ve fallen:
I like Melo. I do. And because he is who he is, there’s always a part of me that trusts he’s about to get rolling and allow me to step off this ledge. But because he’s missing open looks and provides virtually nothing else (not to mention Derrick Favors eating his lunch last night), it’s high time Billy Donovan makes the difficult decision to throw more Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson out there. Playoff B, right? The tinkering postseason genius!
That won’t happen, so I’ll talk to you guys about this again soon.
Today is an important day for Oklahomans, as it’s the 23rd anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. Here’s Nick Collison discussing the importance of the date: