Kiwi Steven Adams has achieved an NBA statistical milestone, but his first 'triple double' wasn't enough to drive New Orleans Pelicans to victory over his old team, Oklahoma City Thunder.
The big centre finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 assists, as the Pelicans fell to their fourth loss of the season and second consecutive defeat, 111-110.
Adams was typically unimpressed with the achievement: "Would feel better if we bloody won."
Guard George Hill slotted two free throws with 12 seconds remaining to give the visitors their winning margin and New Orleans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker missed a desperation three-pointer as the clock wound down.
Adams barely looked at the basket for most of the game, making four of his five shots from the field, and needed a three-point play and basket in the closing moments to bring up his triple double.
"If you look at our oncourt/offcourt numbers and our plus/minus, he's been carrying us all year," reflects coach Stan Van Gundy.
"If Steven's on the court, we're a really good team, but of he's off the court, we're not, because the guy plays every possession."
Significantly, the Pelicans had closed a 14-point deficit to just one point early in the fourth quarter, when OKC back-up centre Mike Muscala hit three three-pointers in the space of 45 seconds to restore a double-figure advantage. Adams was sitting on the bench and immediately returned to the game.
Van Gundy lamented his team's lack of effort on defence, where they gave up 27 transition points to a team averaging 7.5 previously.
"Transition is just a matter of effort and focus," he says. "The book is out on us - run us and we will not run back."
New Orleans next host Charlotte Hornets on Saturday (NZ time).