NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal full of praise for 'big dog' Steven Adams

Four-time NBA champion and three-time Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal was left waxing lyrical about Adams’ “real big man game” as the Kiwi centre produced a season-high 19 points and 10 rebounds while dishing up four assists in the 98-80 victory.

“Whenever you take care of the big dog, you let him eat, he’ll do stuff like this for you – offensive rebounds,” O’Neal said while analysing the first half for US television network TNT.

Shaquille O'Neal was impressed by Steven Adams' physicality.
KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGESShaquille O’Neal was impressed by Steven Adams’ physicality.

“He’s going to do that anyway because he never complains.”

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As well as his physicality and unselfishness, the Lakers legend was also impressed by Adams’ patience on offence to capitalise on mismatches.

Steven Adams scrambles for possession during the Thunder's win over the Rockets.
ALONZO ADAMS/APSteven Adams scrambles for possession during the Thunder’s win over the Rockets.

“But I love his game right here, he said ‘you can’t guard me, take your time right here,’ boom, boom, fake, fake, elbow him in the chest, the ref ain’t going to call it – shoulder jump hook,” O’Neal said as he broke down one of Adams’ scoring plays.

“That’s what I like, real big man game right there. I like to see big guys play like big guys.”

After a slow start to the season, the Thunder have now won seven-straight games, the last two without injured star Russell Westbrook, for a 7-4 record.