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Thunder: Steven Adams minutes still down, but production is up

Steven Adams was puzzled, at least outwardly, by the number. 

The Thunder center is averaging 26.3 minutes per game this season after averaging 33.4 minutes per game a season ago. Adams said he wasn’t aware of the seven-minute difference.

“I was going through a bit of a rough patch,” Adams said Tuesday, referring to the left knee contusion that sidelined him for three games. “Probably to do with that.” 

Adams has only played 30 minutes in one game this season. He played at least 30 minutes in 67 regular season games in 2018-19. 

When asked if he feels past his injury, Adams nodded his head three times before saying: “Making it work. As much as I can tell you.” 

Thunder coach Billy Donovan previously said that he was monitoring Adams’ minutes, but that there wasn’t a hard minutes restriction. Donovan was asked why the Thunder didn’t sit Adams out longer as he dealt with the knee contusion. 

“He’s going to make those decisions, and we did for a couple games,” Donovan said. “And I think he felt like playing through some of that, and getting his rhythm back and being out there was important.” 

Adams has played in nine consecutive games since sitting out Nov. 10 against Milwaukee. He’s averaging 14.2 points and 8.8 rebounds in his last five games while shooting 73 percent from the floor. 

“I think we’re at a place right now with him where it’s, how do we really keep him fresh and productive and playing like he’s played the last couple games?” Donovan said. 

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) gains control of the ball in front of Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Oklahoma City won 127-119. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) gains control of the ball in front of Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Oklahoma City won 127-119. [Bryan...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-919cc45e10181ace0361a8c949f16b8f.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) gains control of the ball in front of Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Oklahoma City won 127-119. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) gains control of the ball in front of Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Oklahoma City won 127-119. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Steven Adams (12) gains control of the ball in front of Philadelphia's Joel Embiid (21) during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia 76ers at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Oklahoma City won 127-119. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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