Two Australian stars had it going to help guide their teams to victory. Plus Giannis Antetokounmpo went off to power the Bucks past the Lakers.
Catch up on all of the day’s action in our NBA Wrap!
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MILLS STAYS HOT FOR THE NETS
Patty Mills is dialled in from deep at the moment.
The Aussie star turned in another big performance in the Brooklyn Nets’ 109-99 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Mills — filling in for the second-straight game for injured sharpshooter Joe Harris — dropped 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting with six triples while finishing with a game-high +19 plus/minus.
It comes after Mills’ historical performance against the OKC Thunder earlier this week, scoring 29 points from a career-best nine three-pointers — the most ever by a Nets player off the bench in franchise history.
And the veteran guard has filled in admirably for the Nets in Harris’ absence to lend a hand to star duo Kevin Durant and James Harden.
The shorthanded Cavs — playing without Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, Lauri Markannen and Colin Sexton — didn’t go away without a fight despite the Nets threatening to pull away throughout the game, leading by as much as 23 points in the second quarter.
Cleveland won the third quarter 32-19 to get within eight points of Brooklyn at the last change. And they continued pushing in the fourth term, with Dean Wades dunk cutting the Nets’ lead to 96-89 with 4:43 left in the ball game.
But that’s as close as the Cavs would get as Harden took charge to help close out Brooklyn’s 11th win for the season.
Harden dropped a game-high 27 points while going a perfect 12-of-12 from the free-throw line to amend for his early-season struggles, adding 10 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block, while Kevin Durant was relatively quiet with 23 points.
Ricky Rubio top-scored for Cleveland With 24 points and Darius Garland chipped in 25 points and three steals as the Cavs slipped to 9-7 on the season.
GIANNIS MONSTERS LAKERS IN MIDDLETON’S RETURN
Giannis Antetokounmpo has powered the Milwaukee Bucks past the LA Lakers 109-102 o improve to 7-8 on the season.
The Greek Freak poured in a season-high 47 points on 18-of-23 shooting, three triples, nine rebounds, one steal and one block in a monstrous showing.
It marked Khris Middleton’s return from an eight-game absence after testing positive to Covid-19 earlier this month. And the dual All-Star forward shook off early rust finish with 16 points, two triples, five rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes.
Talen Horton-Tucker starred for the Lakers with 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting including three triples to go with 12 rebounds, two steals and one block.
Elsewhere, Anthony Davis (18 points, nine rebounds, two blocks) and Russell Westbrook (19 points, 15 rebounds) also fought hard all contest for the Lakers — the latter drawing praise from LA coach Frank Vogel.
“I think Russell Westbrook had his best game as a Laker tonight,” he said post-match.
But it wasn’t enough in the end as the Lakers fell to 8-8 on the season, while Milwaukee improved to 7-8.
Both teams remain without key players as they work their way back to full strength. The Lakers were missing LeBron James, Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza, while Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez are still sidelined for the Bucks
GIDDEY DOUBLE-DOUBLES AGAINST FELLOW ROOKIE STAR
Aussie star Josh Giddey continues to impress, racking up a second career double-double in the OKC Thunder’s 101-89 home win over the Houston Rockets.
Giddey finished with 14 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 11 rebounds and one block in 34 minutes.
It included flashy left-hand pass through traffic to Jeremiah Robinson-Earl under the rim in the third quarter, while it was one of his best defensive performances.
Speaking post-match, Giddey credited the physicality of the NBL for preparing him for the NBA.
“Australia is a physical league,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I chose the NBL over college, to play against grown men, which for me was better than playing against other kids in college. It’s one of the best leagues in the world.”
It came against fellow rookie star Jalen Green, who was taken four picks ahead of Giddey with the No. 2 selection. Green dropped a team-high 21 points for Houston in the team’s ugly 35 per cent shooting performance.
And it was Lu Dort who was the main star of the show for the Thunder, scoring a season-high 34 points with four triples and eight rebounds to help guide the team to its sixth win for the season.
Dort was full of praise for Giddey’s work on the defensive end.
OKC raced ahead in the second quarter to open up a double-digit advantage over the Rockets and threatened to blow out the scoreboard until the latter fought back in the final stanza.
Green’s free throws cut the Thunder’s lead to 88-83 with a little over five minutes remaining, but Dort responded at the other end with a three-pointer followed by a pair of free throws and the Thunder cruised home for the victory.
It snapped a two-game losing streak for the Thunder to improve to 6-8, while Houston has just one win through 15 games.
WIZARDS 87 HORNETS 97
PACERS 89 PISTONS 97
CELTICS 99 HAWKS 110
CAVALIERS 99 NETS 109
PELICANS 98 HEAT 113
MAGIC 104 KNICKS 98
LAKERS 102 BUCKS 109
KINGS 97 TIMBERWOLVES 107
ROCKETS 89 THUNDER 101
MAVERICKS 98 SUNS 105
BULLS 107 TRAIL BLAZERS 112