Another week has come and gone in the lengthy NBA season and during these 7 days we saw two different meetings where Aussies squared off against one another.
From a blow out victory where three Australians combined for a total of 80 minutes, to an O/T game that ended the winning streak a franchise while handing the other their first victory this campaign.
The Utah Jazz feature two Australians amongst their ranks in Dante Exum and Joe Ingles. They currently have a .625 record with 5 wins and 3 losses, one of these defeats was handed to them by the San Antonio Spurs whose current starting point guard is Patty Mills.
Exum played the most minutes out of anybody for the Jazz seeing 29 minutes of game time. In this game he recorded 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists off of only 1 turnover.
For a young player playing a lot of minutes, coming off of a big injury to only recording the 1 turnover shows a maturity that can be developed upon, so regardless of the score this was a valuable game for Exum to be apart of.
The Utah Jazz went down by 10 in the 1st quarter of this game and struggled to recover from the onset. The San Antonio Spurs out shot the Jazz from the field (44.6% to 37.5%), free throw line (90.9% to 62.5%) and recorded 20 second chance points to the Jazz’s 7.
Mills played 30 minutes this game and recorded 16 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds, and like Exum, this was accomplished off of only the 1 turnover.
As a team the Spurs converted 6/20 of their 3 point attempts and Mills made 4/7 of these on his own watch. His spacing off the floor for the other players opens up other shots and passing lanes for those around him, he has embraced his position as fill in starting point guard and as the season continues we may see this move to a more permanent roll.
Coming into the meeting between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks, Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker’s team were on a 3 game winning streak. This contrasted starkly to Bogut’s Mavs who were languishing at 0-5. Needless to say the stakes were high.
Delly recorded 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals the night prior in a victory against the Sacramento Kings. The former Cavs championship winner was continuing his impressive start to life in Milwaukee that has contributed to the Bucks 3 consecutive wins.
However during this overtime loss against the Dallas Mavericks that ended with a 86-75 scoreline Delly’s production dropped slightly. He only recorded 2 points in the game whilst going 0/3 from deep (Delly has only made 2/9 3 pointers across the last three games).
He did manage to keep up his assist tally though, recording 6 during this game but managed to turn the ball over 5 times. It was clear the combination of a back-to-back match up and a Dallas team determine to keep the Bucks out of the paint was effecting Delly’s game.
The Bucks have a three day rest before their next game so we are likely to see a revitalised Dellavedova next time we see Milwaukee play, which hopefully means the new recruit can put an end to his struggles from 3 point range.
Andrew Bogut’s game wasn’t entirely justified by the box score that concluded the match-up. Playing 34 minutes and finishing with a +/- rating of +14, the former Warrior was crucial on the glass.
He snatched 16 rebounds, 13 of which were defensive to illustrate how Big Boges was forcing some misses and cleaning up the scraps afterwards. This was crucial in keeping Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo at bay.
Bogut’s 16 rebounds were the most of any player in the game and having only attempted 4 shots the entire match, Bogut clearly had a specific role and it was one that he stuck too perfectly throughout.
The giant center’s presence in the paint wasn’t just limited to rebounding, the Bucks roster recorded a total of 27 turnovers to the Mavericks 15. A lot of these came from dribble penetration plays were Giannis or Delly would end up passing the ball straight into the hands of the opposition because the lane was clogged by Bogut and other Dallas players.
Before this encounter the Bucks were ranked 4th in the league in offensive efficiency. But after this meeting in Texas their ranking plummeted to 16th. This figure demonstrates how much of an impact Bogut’s defensive presence was for the team as they secured their first W of the season.
Thon Making The Most Of His Start To NBA Life
The Bucks played the Indiana Pacers throughout the week and won comfortably, so comfortably that Thon Maker saw game time for the last 1:14 of the 4th quarter.
During this small stint of time Thon received the ball with 1:01 left on the clock at the top of 3 point line, and without a second of hesitation he let a high arching shot fly that hit nothing but net and marked his first points as an NBA player.
The crowd at the BMO Bradley Harris Centre erupted and they thought this was the icing on the cake for convincing victory. But little did they know Thon had another 3 pointer up his sleeve, with 0:35 seconds left on the clock Thon was again found beyond the arch and once again as fluid as they come.
Maker swished bombed another 3 point basket only for the home crowd to go absolutely mental.
This now means that Thon Maker has career field goal percentage of 75% and 66.7% from beyond the 3 point line. It’s early days for the Maker and even though these performances have come in garbage minutes late in games, the sky is the limit for Thon and from here on out he is going to see more and more minutes as the season progresses.