OKLAHOMA CITY – With all the excitement about the Oklahoma City Thunder’s new Big Three this season, Steven Adams had become a bit of an afterthought.
The 213-cm center had 20 points and nine rebounds to support Russell Westbrook’s triple-double, and the Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz 100-94 on Tuesday night.
The Thunder have won three straight, and Adams’ offensive play has been critical. During the streak, he has averaged 22 points and 8.3 rebounds and made 28 of 34 shots from the field.
“That’s good, mate,” the New Zealander said. “Good stuff.”
The two new stars did their parts, too — Paul George scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and Carmelo Anthony added 14 points and eight rebounds. They also opened things up for Adams, and now, teams have been forced to decide whether to focus on Adams or on George and Anthony, two of the league’s most capable scorers.
“The reason why Steven is doing what he’s doing is because of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “When we’re patient on offense, Steven’s going to get those opportunities. Steven’s not doing really anything different from maybe he’s done in the past.”
Westbrook finished with 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds to register his seventh triple-double of the season.
Raptors 126, Suns 113
In Toronto, Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 10 assists, DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and the Raptors beat Phoenix, improving their NBA-best home record to 9-1.
Suns guard Devin Booker had to be carried off the floor by two teammates after suffering an apparent leg injury with 2:40 remaining and Phoenix trailing by 11. Booker froze in pain while playing defense and did not move as trainers came out to examine him.
Booker, who shook off a 2-for-11 start to score a season-high 46 points Monday in a win at Philadelphia, shot 0 for 7 in the first half Tuesday. He finished 4-for-15 with 19 points, including 10 of 12 from the foul line.
Wizards 106, Trail Blazers 92
In Portland, Bradley Beal scored a career-high 51 points, and Washington bounced back from a demoralizing loss the night before to beat the Trail Blazers.
Beal made 21 field goals, also a career high, and the Wizards led by as many as 23 points. He hit five 3-pointers.
The Wizards were coming off a 116-69 loss Monday night at Utah, the second-largest losing margin in franchise history.