Aussie role players, Josh Green and Jock Landale showed the importance of always staying ready this week and making the most of the minutes you get with the pair both setting new career highs.
The slate of NBA games this week was highlighted by the highly anticipated match-up between Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers dominating the headlines, with our two Aussies Patty Mills and Matisse Thybulle caught in the middle of the drama.
3 Games, 3 Wins, 9.0pts, 1.0reb, 2.0ast
For the first time since mid-December the Brooklyn Nets were able to win three games in a row this week, as the team looks to have found some continuity with their line-up. With Kevin Durant returning and the added depth the team got from the Ben Simmons and James Harden trade, the Nets at full strength are a scary proposition for any team to face in the playoffs as we saw this week.
The Nets began the week travelling to North Carolina to meet the Charlotte Hornets, where they were able to put an end to their five game losing streak, winning 132 to 121. They got the win behind the excellent play of Kyrie Irving who scored 50 points to help put the Nets back into the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Mills came off the bench for the game, playing 20 minutes where his three point shooting was on display going four of seven from deep to finish with 12 points.
The Nets continued their road trip travelling to Philadelphia next for one of the most anticipated games of the season against the 76ers following the Simmons and Harden trade.
The Nets looked poised from the opening tip, making a statement with 129 to 100 victory. It was the Nets shooting that made the difference going at 56% from the field and 45% from three.
Mills again came off the bench and scored in double figures with 10 points as well as grabbing an assist and two steals. In the game Mills reached a new career milestone by making his 200th three-pointers of the season, the first time in his career hitting the mark.
Mills made sure to show off his veteran leadership in the game, supporting teammate Ben Simmons in his first return to Philadelphia, by being by his side during warmups. Mills said when Simmons was originally traded to the Nets, he would have his back.
The Nets closed out the week hosting cross town rivals, the New York Knicks where the winning continued edging them out 110 to 107. Durant put on a scoring masterclass in the matchup scoring 53 points to help guide the Nets to victory.
Mills returned to the starting line-up but had a poor shooting night going two of 11 from the field. He did however chip in with five points, three rebounds and four assists.
3 Games, 2 Wins, 5.3pts, 2.0reb, 0.0ast
It was an interesting week for the Philadelphia 76ers who were able to get a big win over a top contender but then struggle in other matchups. For Matisse Thybulle he had a strong start to the week before dropping off his production.
The 76ers first game of the week came against the Chicago Bulls where they showed how lethal they can be on offense, winning by 15 points. Thybulle’s offensive game was helped by the return of James Harden, who commanded extra attention allowing Thybulle to get easy buckets.
For the game Thybulle finishes with 12 points, the third time he has hit double digits in points since Harden’s arrival.
The Sixers next hosted the Nets in what turned out to be an underwhelming game, having had so much hype around it due to it being the first time Harden would play against his old side. The 76ers struggled to score the ball, while the Nets scored with ease, with the game to essentially be over by the end of the third, with a 32 point deficit.
Thybulle defended the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant but struggled to reduce the pair’s impact. Thybulle finished the game with just four points, three rebounds and a block. The loss marked the first time that the Sixers has lost with Harden in the line-up having won the five games he had played in since the trade.
The Sixer’s final game of the week came against the Orlando Magic, where they were just able to grind out a two point victory in overtime. Thybulle only played 18 minutes and in that time was unable to make any of his four shot attempts to finish with just two rebounds and one steal.
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4 Games, 2 Wins, 9.0pts, 3.8reb, 1.3ast
With Jock Landale’s role and playing time being all over the place in recent weeks with the return of Zach Collins, the Aussie big man has remained ready for whatever minutes he gets to try and make an impact.
Landale did exactly that in the Spurs first game of the week against the LA Lakers were him, Collins and starting centre Jakob Poeltl all got significant minutes for the first time in a game. Landale earned more minutes than Collins, a positive sign for him having put up better stats and finishing the game with a +/- of +13 compared to Collins who was -4.
For the game, Landale scored eight points on 80% shooting to go along with four rebounds and three assists in 13 minutes.
The Spurs stuck with playing all three big men in their following game against the Toronto Raptors, however Landale and the team did not have the same success, losing 119-104. Landale’s impact was less as well, playing just seven minutes to finish with two points and a rebound.
Landale again saw minimal playing time in the Spurs win over the Utah Jazz where coach Gregg Popovich became the winningest coach in the NBA regular season with 1,336 wins. Landale played just six minutes in the win and was only able to contribute with three rebounds.
The Aussie big men’s persistence paid off in the Spur’s final game of the week against the Indiana Pacers, playing a career-high 35 minutes off the bench and in the process setting a new career-high in points with 26 on 80% shooting. Landale got off to a hot start in the game, scoring 17 points by halftime which warrant more playing time in the second half.
He also had seven rebounds for the game along with a pair of assists and steals.
4 Games, 3 Wins, 6.3pts, 2.8reb, 1.0ast, 1.8stl
Josh Green and the Dallas Mavericks continued their impressive form having now won eight of their past 10 games. Green’s strong play in recent weeks, always staying ready was rewarded by earning a start this week, where he was able to impact the game in multiple ways.
The Maverick’s first game of the week came against the Utah Jazz, where they were able to get the win on the road 111 to 103. Green played 18 minutes off the bench and finished with four points, three rebounds and assists and a pair of steals.
Dallas was unable to back up their impressive win over the Jazz in their following game, getting blown out by the New York Knicks, 107 to 77. As a team the Mavericks shot the ball terribly going at just 31.6% from the field and 13.6% from three making just six of their 44 attempts.
Much like the rest of the team, Green had little impact on the game scoring just two points and grabbing one rebound and steal.
After the horrible loss to the Knicks, Dallas turned things around when they meet the Houston Rockets to get back on the winning path. Green earned his third start of the season in the game and made sure to make an impact.
The guard scored in the double digits for just the sixth time this season to have 10 points along with six rebounds of which three were offensive, one assist, four steals and two blocks. Green set a new career-high in steals and minutes during the game, playing 36 minutes.
To close out the week, the Mavericks were on the road to play the Boston Celtics where they were able to leave with another win. Green returned to his bench role, however still had a scoring impact, putting up nine points in the 17 minutes he played.
Josh Giddey did not play any games for the Oklahoma City Thunder this week, still sidelined with right hip soreness.
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