After an extended break due to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend, our Aussies in the NBA returned to action this week, with mixed results. Patty Mills struggled to get his shot to fall as he adjusts to another new-look Nets line up, while Matisse Thybulle experienced the opposite, flourishing with the Sixers and the addition of James Harden.
2 Games, 1 Win, 1.0pts, 0.5reb, 2.0ast
After having a strong showing in the Three-Point Contest at Allstar Weekend, Mills had a less than thrilling return to action for the Brooklyn Nets this week, unable to make a single shot in their two games. Mills took 12 shots and eight from behind the arc with none falling in what has been his most disappointing week since joining the team.
The Net’s first game of the week came against the Boston Celtics, where they fell behind early in the first quarter and were never able to mount any kind of comeback. The Nets were without any of their superstar talent for the game and ultimately lost 129 to 106.
Mills had a rough shooting night going zero of nine from the field to finish with just a single point, one rebound and three assists.
Things only got worse for Mills in the Nets following game with him being removed from the starting line-up and now coming off the bench. With Kyrie Irving able to play against the Milwaukee Bucks and the team’s recent addition of Seth Curry who has taken the second guard spot in the starting five, Mills may see himself coming off the bench more often.
For the game Mills had just one point and one assist in the 16 minutes he played, however the Nets were able to defeat the Bucks who were at full strength behind Irving’s 38 point night.
Mills now finds himself in an interesting spot, with it unclear what exactly his role will be with the team from game to game. With Irving in and out of the team, rookie Cam Thomas’ rise and the addition of Curry and now Goran Gragic there is a lot of competition for playing time amongst Brooklyn’s guards.
1 Game, 0 Wins, 15.0pts, 9.0reb, 6.0ast, 2.0stl
Aussie rookie phenom Josh Giddey only played one game this week for the Thunder, before being sidelined with right hip soreness.
In the sole game Giddey suited up in, he was one of the Thunder’s standout players despite going down by 20 points to Western Conference leaders the Phoenix Suns. Giddey did have added support with the return of the team’s leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander which meant he was not the focal point of the opposition’s defence and played off-ball more.
For the game, Giddey finished with 15 points, a game-high nine rebounds, six assists and two steals. Giddey went on to miss the Thunder’s next game against the Pacers, where the team won in overtime 129 to 125.
2 Games, 2 Wins, 9.5pts, 6.5reb, 2.5ast, 3.0stl
Matisse Thybulle returned from the Allstar break looking refreshed and re-energised, having a strong week on both ends of the floor. The 76ers unveiled a new starting five this week with All-Star James Harden making his debut and having an instant impact.
The Sixers travelled to Minnesota for their first game of the week to meet the Timberwolves. From the jump, the Sixers looked like the much better team, especially on the offensive end where they had excellent ball movement which was highlighted by them finishing with 30 assists as a team.
Harden who was playing point guard made sure to get everyone involved with Thybulle benefitting from this greatly. He finished the game with 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. This marked just the sixth time this season that Thybulle had scored in double digits.
Things only got better for the Sixers in their next game as they continued their road trip, playing the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Again, their excellent ball movement was on display with everyone getting involved on the offensive end.
Thybulle had another strong outing to finish with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals.
The addition of Harden has helped the Sixers with spacing the floor, as he draws extra attention from the opposing defence. Combined with his excellent court vision and passing ability the likes of Thybulle have benefitted from his play as he has found himself wide open more often and is getting rewarded when cutting to the basket resulting in easy points.
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1 Games, 0 Wins, 14.0pts, 3.0reb, 2ast
Jock Landale has been the consummate professional for the San Antonio Spurs this season, always staying ready and trying to make an impact no matter the length of playing time he gets. With Zach Collins return from injury, Landale has seen himself warming the bench more, no longer getting the back-up center minutes.
That was the case when the Spurs played the Washington Wizards, with Landale not getting any playing time in the teams 157 to 153 overtime win.
Things changed in the Spurs following game against the Miami Heat, with starting center Jakob Poeltl not playing, Collins was promoted to the starting line-up while Landale returned to his role off the bench.
Landale made sure to make the most of the time he got, playing 26 minutes the most playing time he has gotten in his NBA career and with that scoring 14 points, his second highest point total in the NBA. He also chipped in with three rebounds and two assists.
If Landale can continue to make the most of the minutes he gets, he may find himself earn back his role from Collins, with Collins only playing 17 minutes in the game and scoring five points.
2 Games, 1 Win, 3.0pts, 2.0reb, 0ast
Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green continued to play his role off the bench this week for the Mavs, with the team having two tough games against the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors who are both above them in the conference standings.
Their first game against the Jazz was a close affair, falling just short with a poor third-quarter costing them. Green played 12 minutes in the loss, unable to fill up the stat sheet, with just two rebounds for the game, having taken no shots.
Things improved for both Green and the Mavericks when they travelled to San Francisco to play the Warriors, able to leave victorious following a huge final quarter where they outscored them 33 to 13 to come back and win by six points.
Green was able to make more of an impact in this matchup, finishing with six points and two rebounds. Green scored all six of his points in the final quarter as part of a 16 to zero point run the Mavericks went on during the middle of the fourth quarter.
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