Former Pitt star Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off the 2018-19 season on Tuesday night in a Western Conference tilt with the Golden State Warriors, and although the Thunder suffered a close 108-100 loss, Adams made the most of the season opener, overcoming a lower back issue and posting a double-double in the matchup.
Against the defending champions, Adams put up 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. He also contributed four assists, shot 50 percent from the field and converted five of his eight free-throw attempts. Unfortunately, with star point guard Russell Westbrook sidelined with a knee injury, the Thunder struggled to keep up with the Warriors, and Adams’ effort was ultimately in vain.
Prior to the game, Adams had been dealing with lower back stiffness that he initially experienced during a team practice on Sunday. As a result, he sat out Monday’s practice and was a game-time decision for the season opener, according to Thunder head coach Billy Donovan. He was cleared to play after pregame warm-ups and appeared unhindered on the court Tuesday night.
When asked about the issue after the game, Adams said, “I feel fine, mate. I’m still above ground,” according to The Oklahoman.
Adams is coming off a career year with the Thunder, as he posted career-high averages in points (13.9), rebounds (9.0), assists (1.2) and steals (1.2). Considering Adams’ recent contributions to the team and the fact that a date for Westbrook’s return has yet to be announced, the former Panther figures to play a prominent role in the Thunder offense in the early stages of the season.