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How does one fill the void left by an all-league player? Well, when that player is Kevin Durant, its almost impossible to do, but Steven Adams is hell-bent on doing his part to make sure Oklahoma City Thunder wont skip a beat as they transition from the Durant and Russell Westbrook era, to potentially the Russell and Adams show.Adams shouldered more of the offensive load on Wednesday as the Thunder skipped out of Philadelphia with a win on opening night, finishing with 16 points on 16 shots.I was encouraged tonight that Steven took 16 shots, OKC coach Billy Donovan said. He didnt shoot a particularly good percentage, but its encouraging to see that most of his shots are coming around the basket. Thats a good thing for us.If I make them, deadpanned Adams post-game. I dont wanna throw them up and miss them. Missing dunks and stuff. Its one of those things where you just have to get a rhythm and theyll start falling.Adams is one of those NBA players that genuinely comes back each season a better player than the one before. Now entering his fourth NBA campaign, his scoring output has increased each season, along with his shooting percentage.Adams says that he doesnt specifically pinpoint one part of his game to work on during the summer, rather, he works on his overall play. Something thats helped him become one of the leagues best big men.I always work on the full game because the team can change each year, so you have to try and do everything so if they [coaching staff] do ask for a triangle, I can do a triangle, said Adams.You try and fit for what they ask for. If you do that, youll put your team in the best position to win. It doesnt matter who scores, as long as we get the win.That effort has not gone unnoticed by the Thunder coaching staff, who hope that in the absence of Serge Ibaka, Adams becomes the teams defensive anchor.Ive developed a lot of confidence and trust in Steven defensively, said Donovan. Seeing what he did last year in the playoffs where he had to guard some power forwards where we werent sure he could do it, [but] he was able to do it.Hes a smart defender, hes good on his feet, he understands angles, positioning, getting his size and strength into the game without fouling. Ive got a lot of confidence in him playing a multitude of different players.Circumstance has pushed Adams to the forefront of the Thunder leadership group, and even though hes only 23-years-old himself, hes already the third longest tenured player on the OKC roster - behind only Nick Collison and Westbrook.Adams says hes shouldered more leadership responsibility, but theres still a learning curve.I have taken more of a leadership [role] to the young guys, but Im still a young guy myself. Im still learning a lot from Nick and Russell, and the way they play the system. Just the fine details. Were trying to complement that, stay in our lane and learn. Were still young [ourselves].Even with an improved Adams as one of the teams focal points, the Thunder will still face numerous challenges in trying to make another deep playoff run without Durant and Ibaka. The New Zealander understands the enormity of the task ahead.We got a lot of work to do. 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While Most Exalted only has one win to his name, there was more than met the eye to the midweek maiden where he broke his duck.Thats the view of trainer James Cummings as he seeks a second victory with the horse in Saturdays Pluck@Vinery Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill.The two Chris Waller-trained runners who filled the placings in the June 8 maiden over 1550m at Canterbury, Firebird Flyer and My Guiliano subsequently won Saturday races in Sydney.The form out of that maiden, although at the time it didnt look amazing, it has improved once weve seen some of those horses mature more and get to higher level, Cummings said.Most Exalted returned from a spell to run third at Rosehill on November 19.Early Sydney jockeys premiership contender Brenton Avdulla gets the ride on Most Exalted who has drawn barrier two.Hes a horse with a very, very good finish and hes certainly drawn a much more advantageous gate this week than he did first-up so he would map much better, Cummings said.Cummings also has a two-pronged attack on the TAB Handicap (1400m) with Lunar Rise and High Midnight.ddddddddddddLunar Rise will be James Doyles first ride for the stable and Cummings is hopeful the veteran campaigner can turn his form around for the English jockey.Two starts back hed be a winning chance but after last-start hes got a lot to improve on, Cummings said.Lunar Rise has trialled since his last start where he failed to beat a runner home at Rosehill on November 19, a disappointing return given his victory at the same track one week earlier.High Midnight will be looking to improve on his first-up effort when fifth.We felt that his run peaked late first up, Cummings said.He should be an excellent chance of improving on that first-up run.Static Lift is entered for Rosehill and Canterbury on Friday night, with Cummings yet to make a decision about where the horse will run. cheap falcons jerseys cheap ravens jerseys cheap bills jerseys cheap bears jerseys cheap bengals jerseys cheap cowboys jerseys cheap lions jerseys cheap texans jerseys cheap colts jerseys cheap jaguars jerseys cheap chiefs jerseys cheap rams jerseys cheap dolphins jerseys cheap vikings jerseys cheap saints jerseys cheap giants jerseys cheap jets jerseys cheap eagles jerseys cheap steelers jerseys cheap 49ers jerseys ' ' '