Steven Adams' honesty is refreshing. Just watch Thunder center's classic Stone Cold TV interview.
The Thunder staged one of its greatest comebacks ever, rallying from a 26-point deficit to beat the Bulls 109-106 Monday night.
Then the Thunder staged its greatest on-court interview.
With the game tied at 106, and 4.3 seconds left, Stone Cold Steven Adams went to the foul line shooting two.
I’m sure Adams has shot crucial foul shots in his seven-year NBA career, but I can’t remember any this big. Last seconds, game on the line.
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For a decade, Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook or Paul George had the ball in their hands at crunch time. If someone was going to get fouled, it was them.
But these are different days. Billy Donovan designed a play for Adams – the Thunder inbounded the ball from the corner, an always shaky spot, so Donovan drew up a lob into Adams, trying to allow Adams to use his size advantage over Chicago center Wendell Carter. Officials called Carter for a hooking foul – he grabbed Adams around the waist – and frankly, the Bulls couldn’t get upset with the call.
Adams is a career 55.1 percent foul shooter and a 51.5 percent foul shooter this season.
And that’s only after a hot streak when Adams seemed to get his shot somewhat aligned. In a five-game stretch from Dec. 1-12, Adams made 18 of 24 foul shots. Before that, Adams was shooting 40 percent from the line.
So Monday night, Adams stepped to the line – and banked in his first shot. Hey, at least he shot it straight.
Armed with a lead, and Chicago out of timeouts, a decent strategy would be to miss the second shot. Of course, Adams doesn’t have to try to miss, to miss, and indeed he missed, and Dennis Schroder helped tip the ball out. Adams speared it, got it to Chris Paul and all was well. The Thunder won 109-106.
Some two minutes later, Thunder sideline reporter Nick Gallo grabbed Adams for an on-court interview and asked him about the foul shots.
“Absolutely s*** my pants shooting that free throw,” Adams said before God and Oklahoma. “That’s pretty tough. I didn’t realize how much pressure it is. I made it, mate. I’ll be happy with it.”
That’s the beauty of Adams. He’s unfiltered. Not necessarily with his choice of language, though I think Gallo joined Adams in s******* his pants. But just in his honesty and answering the question that is asked.
Adams sometimes furrows his brow and ponders his answers to questions. He literally tries to answer the question that is asked, which is rare among athletes, professional or otherwise. Adams is gold in interviews, for that very reason.
And we have to forgive his use of vulgarities. I don’t know how people talk in New Zealand, but it’s possible that particular word is not considered off limits for New Zealand TV. It shouldn’t be a big deal for cable television in America, and if it is, why doesn’t the Thunder have a five-second delay?
Adams’ answer was brutally honest. Think about how many games he’s watched Westbrook or Durant or George stroll to the line in the final seconds of a game, with the fate of the squad on their foul shooting ability. Adams was no doubt focused on his particular job – Adams always is focused on his particular job – and somewhat unaware of the emotions that might be attached to some other duty.
And there it was. Adams on the line, the game on the line. And Stone Cold came through, in a very Stone Cold way.