The New Zealand basketballer Steven Adams is playing down the impact he had on Oklahoma City Thunder's NBA play-off run.
Adams and Oklahoma narrowly missed out on making the NBA finals when they lost the Western Conference final to reigning champions the Golden State Warriors, four games to three.
Adams played a leading hand in his side's performances but is deflecting any praise saying the opposition were simply spending more time trying to shut down Oklahoma playmakers Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
"They took out Russ (Westbrook) and K.D. (Durant) which forced us to put players in different positions to make plays... and that's all it came down to and I guess intensity wise it just came with the playoffs," said Adams.
After three years in the NBA his toughness on the court and disarming colloquial charm off it have won over a legion of fans and sports reporters in the United States.
Adam's believes their success has come simply from the team's off court chemistry.
"It was great on the court but even more so off the court. This is what really stuck out for - the relationships in the locker room grew just because we were faced with a lot of challenges which we had to overcome and that just brought us close together."