Oklahoma City Thunder: Add Zach Randolph to Steven Adams’ list of retaliation victims

The Thunder’s unflinching rookie center has frustrated another opponent enough to make him retaliate. Memphis’ Zach Randolph is the fifth player to get ejected or suspended for striking Adams.
by Anthony Slater Published: May 2, 2014

Why has this become a trend? Why do people keep taking shots at the rookie? It stems from his wild playing style. He’s like a 7-foot wrecking ball on the court, looking like an energetic guard who happens to be stuck in a center’s body.

He flies around for rebounds, sets punishing screens and, at times, shows a comical lack of court awareness. He’s a foul machine, tumbling into people all over the court and smoking unsuspecting opponents with inadvertent shots in the paint. 

“He seeks contact, which is a little different,” Nick Collison explained, saying former teammate Reggie Evans was another guy he remembered like that. “When he gets hit, it doesn’t bother him. He doesn’t take it personally like a lot of guys in our league do, where they think someone is out to get them.”

And that’s another part of the Adams equation that’s so interesting. While opponent’s tempers boil — and even after they’ve hit him — Adams stands there with a stoic, robotic look. He’ll laugh and shrug, unaware of why anyone would be angry with him.

“Have you seen my sister, bro?” Adams said earlier in the season, when asked of his ability to absorb contact. His sister is an Olympic gold medalist in the shot put. Adams’ New Zealand rugby background also adds to that physical mentality.

“The white Kendrick Perkins,” Dirk Nowitzki referred to him after the Carter ejection.

“He’s used to contact,” Collison said. “And he doesn’t see contact or people hitting him or him hitting people as out of the ordinary.”

But on Thursday, late in the fourth quarter of a game that was already decided, Zach Randolph did. And he retaliated. And now he must sit during the season’s most crucial game.

Just add him to Adams’ ever-growing list of victims.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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