OKLAHOMA CITY — During one trip down the floor, Steven Adams jostled, pushed and tangled arms with Blake Griffin, fighting over a piece of the court as if it were the last crumb at the dinner table.
Soon afterward, Adams raced out to the 3-point line and fell for a pump fake by a wide-open Chris Paul, launching himself into the air. When Adams landed, all 7 feet and 255 pounds of runaway exuberance came down squarely on top of Paul, knocking him into the Oklahoma City bench. Adams was given a technical foul.
Those two sequences, against the Los Angeles Clippers’ two best players Wednesday night, provided a window into what it is like to play against Adams, the Thunder’s rookie reserve center from New Zealand.
Nobody seems to like it.
Five times this season, a player has been ejected for lashing out at Adams, most notably Memphis forward Zach Randolph, who was suspended for Game 7 of Oklahoma City’s first-round playoff victory over the Grizzlies because he punched Adams in the jaw.