Australian phenomenon Josh Giddey played for the Oklahoma City Thunder in Wednesday’s nine-point win over the Golden State Warriors, recording the seventh triple-double of his NBA career.
The 20-year-old from Melbourne contributed 17 points, 11 rebounds and 17 assists in the 137-129 win in front of a full house at Oklahoma City’s Paycom Center, with Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander posting a team-high 33 points against the defending champion.
The pair’s performances helped the Thunder get past Steph Curry’s 40 points, including 10 three-pointers.
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Giddey is the youngest player in NBA history to record a streak of 15+ points, 10+ rebounds and 15+ assists. The only NBA player with more triple-doubles before his 21st birthday is Luka Doncic.
“Gid is a great passer, everyone knows that,” Thunder teammate Jaylin Williams told reporters after the game.
“We looked up and saw that he had 17 assists and we were like, ‘Damn!'”
Giddey’s career-high 17 assists equals Australia’s record in the NBA, with Ben Simmons accomplishing the feat in 2019.
“At this stage of the year, every win is crucial. It’s a big thing for us against a really good team,” said Giddey after the triumph.
“It was all about who could weather the storm best and we did a good job managing their runs.
“I was just trying to get the guys on the ball in the right sports at the right time and they took care of the rest.
“That was a credit to the group, a team effort against a really good opponent.”
The Thunder, who have back-to-back wins against the Utah Jazz, have now won three straight games and moved up to 10th place in the Western Conference rankings.
Next they meet Phoenix Suns, who are also looking for a fourth straight win. at the Footprint Center on Thursday at 1pm AEDT.
LeBron Praises Giddey | 00:43
OTHER GAMES WRAP (via AFP)
The Milwaukee Bucks shrugged off the injury-related absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo and cemented their grip on first place in the Eastern Conference with a 134-123 win over the Orlando Magic.
The Bucks were 2.5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics at the top of the standings with a clinical offensive performance that saw goals shared by Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton and Jevon Carter.
Lopez finished the race with 26 points after shooting 64.3 percent from the field while Middleton and Carter each earned 24 points for Milwaukee.
Bobby Portis, Jae Crowder and Joe Ingles also finished in double figures for the Bucks, who have now won nine straight games on the road.
Milwaukee — who saw their 16-game unbeaten streak broken by Philadelphia on Saturday — improved to 47-18 at the top of the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are 45-21.
The Bucks were always in control Tuesday against Orlando, leading from the end of the first quarter and maintaining a comfortable double-digit lead through most of the fourth quarter.
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer praised Lopez after the win. “We often talk about his defense, but he was really good offensively – it was great to get him going early,” said Budenholzer.
“It’s nice to see him scoring goals in different ways… we’re lucky for all the different things he can do.”
In Minneapolis, the Philadelphia 76ers rolled over the Timberwolves for a third straight win with a 117-94 blowout.
Joel Embiid came within a whisker of a second straight 40-point game after his 42 points against Indiana on Monday, delivering 39 points against a Minnesota team that was struggling offensively.
Embiid shot 13-of-22 from the field, with a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range and nine-of-9 from the free-throw line.
With James Harden rested, Tyrese Maxey again provided offensive support with 27 points while Tobias Harris (10) and De’Anthony Melton (11) were also in double figures.
Minnesota’s challenge was led by Anthony Edwards with 32 points, but no other starter for Wolves had more than seven points. The Sixers improved to 43-22 and remain third in the Eastern Conference.
“I just want to do everything to win games,” Embiid said afterwards. “Tonight without James (Harden) I wanted to be as aggressive as possible to make sure we win. We played very well defensively and moved the ball and shot offensively.
“It doesn’t matter who I’m playing against – I just feel like I’m going to do my thing anyway.” Embiid brushed aside suggestions that his form put him among the favorites for the Most Valuable award after several near misses in recent seasons players the NBA should make.
“This year I’m taking a different approach – I’m just trying to focus on the right things, winning games, dominating and whatever happens, happens,” Embiid said.
“I’m just focused on staying healthy, winning games and dominating. I’m looking forward to the playoffs. I feel good.”
The New York Knicks’ nine-game winning streak came to an abrupt end at Madison Square Garden with a 112-105 loss to the defeated Charlotte Hornets.
Charlotte – second from bottom in the East – appeared to be sliding towards her 47th loss of the season as New York forged a 16-point lead early in the second half.
But Charlotte came to life with 37 points in the third quarter, beating the Knicks 25-16 in the final frame to claim the win.
Kelly Oubre Jr. had 27 points, Terry Rozier 25 and Gordon Hayward 23 for Charlotte.
The Knicks showed visible signs of fatigue as they returned home after a grueling string of road wins over Miami and Boston.
Dollars 134, magic 123
Wizard 119, Piston 117
Hornets 112, Knicks 105
Sixers 117, Timberwolves 94
Nets 118, rockets 96
Warrior 128, Thunder 137
Jazz 116, Maverick’s 120
Grizzlies Lakers TBC