The Boomers are looking in fine fiddle at the moment as both their starting back court and star centres are playing at a high level. The future is also looking bright, after Dante Exum’s progress last week. Rookie Thon Maker has been awarded more game time and it’s fair to say he didn’t disappoint.
The Detroit Pistons and Aron Baynes are still without their staring point guard Reggie Jackson, sitting on a 9-10 record. Throughout the last week the Pistons had solid victories against Western Conference powerhouse The Los Angles Clippers and also rivals from the East The Charlotte Hornets.
The Pistons led from the get go and were in front at the end of each quarter against the Clippers and the Hornets, earning a crucial head start. Aron Baynes’ 4.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg to shoot 45.3% from the field has come via only 16.7 minutes of play.
This is despite an impressive 83.5% from the free throw line, providing impactful minutes off the bench. His role of back-up centre is very valuable to the Pistons – he is a plugin option thrown into the mix where he doesn’t hesitate in getting up to speed.
Baynes played 21 minutes against the 14-5 LA Clippers and recorded 6 rebounds and 4 points. Although this win was needed against tough competition, when it comes to playoff qualification, beating a team like the Charlotte Hornets is crucial.
Charlotte is also gunning for a place among the top 8 in the East come next year.
So a 23-point victory away from home against fierce conference competitors is a major statement of intent.
Baynes enjoyed a better all round game against the Hornets, in 23 minutes he notched 8 points and 8 rebounds to keep his excellent free-throw shooting going. The Pistons might be sitting just below a .500 record, but with a major member of the roster still yet to play a game this year there is definitely more to come from this group.
Andrew Bogut’s Dallas Mavericks fortunes on the other hand have not appeared much brighter after this weeks games played out. The Mavs won 1 from 3 in a tough week of fixtures, coming up against two of the top four teams in the league.
The Mavs 3rd win over the New Orleans Pelicans was a case of strugglers fighting over scraps. The 91-81 result saw Bogut record 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 points, playing his highest amount of minutes of the week.
With the seemingly impossible task of containing Anthony Davis, the Mavs leaned upon Bogut to be their rock in the paint throughout the matchup and this payed off big time, securing the W in front of their home supporters.
Having lost the other 2 games to the title contending Cleveland Cavaliers and LA Clippers, it’s not all bad news in the Dallas camp. With the return of franchise legend Dirk Nowitzki giving the roster a much needed boost, the Mavs and Bogut look set to start seeing some more ticks in the win column.
Despite a slight hiccup against the Orlando Magic that saw the San Antonio Spurs’s winning streak come to a halt, it has continued to be smooth sailing for Patty Mills.
Mills had two very impressive outings this week, one against the Mavericks in a 94-87 victory away from home were he scored 23 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds hitting 5/6 from downtown.
The other arrived against the Boston Celtics who were finally full strength once again.
The game was closely contended with multiple lead changes happening throughout, however Mills’s 19 points off 75% shooting from the field ended up being the deciding factor.
Patty buried a crazy 3 point shot from just past the centre court logo at the end of the 3rd, giving San Antonio the lead heading into the final quarter, but he was able to top this one by knocking down the game sealing shot. Hitting from the corner 3 with 0.44 seconds remaining, Mills put the Spurs up by 6 and making it a 2 possession game.
The Aussie and San Antonio have continue their stellar form that the NBA has grown so accustom too, so we can expect a lot more of this from the team as the season progresses.
Matthew Dellavedova squared off against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time since the off-season. The Cavs came into this encounter on fire – taking out the last 4 straight. But it was Delly and the Bucks that would come away victorious 118-101.
The Bucks had 27 assists to the Cavaliers 17. They were sharing the ball well and played in a fashion that had the Cavs beaten at their own game.
Delly contributed 7 of these assists on his own watch, whilst being active on defence grabbing 2 steals. This was a category the Bucks led the Cavs in considerably with 15 steals to their 7.
The Bucks led by as much 22 in the 4th and they were home and hosed early, unleashing Thon Maker for a brief 4 minute spell.
Maker is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. He hit back-to-back 3 pointers in the space of 30 seconds earlier in the year, and this time he was breaking ankles and knocking down jumpers.
Thon embarrassed league veteran Chris ‘Birdman’ Anderson by dropping him to the floor after some quick dribbles and a step back that ended in the bucket. Once again the home fans erupted and the curious case off Thon Maker continues to grow.