Thunder vs. Warriors: Willie Cauley-Stein has learned a few tricks from Steven Adams
SAN FRANCISCO — Willie Cauley-Stein has a personal objective every time he faces the Thunder.
“I don’t care if I get one board as long as he don’t get that board,” Cauley-Stein said Monday before his Warriors welcome the Thunder to Chase Center.
That’s how he feels about Steven Adams.
“You damn near need to put two bodies on him,” Cauley-Stein said. “And then somebody else gotta come get it because it’s virtually impossible to block him out and go jump for the ball.”
The two 7-foot centers are only separated in age by one month, but Cauley-Stein can fill a notepad with things he’s learned in battles against Adams.
“He’s got so many little tricks and stuff that he uses that you’ve gotta really hone in on just blocking him out and canceling yourself out for the rebound,” Cauley-Stein said.
Adams is averaging a carer-high 6.1 defensive rebounds per game, primarily a product of not playing with Russell Westbrook anymore. But Adams’ offensive rebounding rate has fallen from 4.9 per game last season to 2.8 per game this season.
The Thunder ranks 29th in offensive rebounds per game and 19th in defensive rebounds per game.
But Adams has gained Cauley-Stein’s respect.
“Every time I play that matchup I have a good time, because I learn so much from him,” Cauley-Stein said. “One of the things that I picked up from him is he knows he’s not gonna get the ball, so he starts boxing out like four seconds before. By the time you know it, you’re already under the rim. I’m trying to take that and put it in my game, too.”