Josh Giddey starred in overtime and put in one of his best defensive NBA displays to help Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (AEDT).
Giddey, who’s averaging a tick under 15 points per outing this season, fell one assist short of his second triple-double of the Thunder’s 2022-23 campaign, finishing with 10 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in the 123-119 win.
Oklahoma City’s win comes after OT losses to Denver and Milwaukee over the past few weeks.
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Sat, 26 Nov
Saturday November 26th
Giddey’s output during the tight closing stages impressed on-lookers as he produced several huge clutch plays down the stretch.
The 20-year-old showed terrific composure and vision in traffic in overtime. He firstly set up buckets for teammates Aleksej Pokusevski and Kenrich Williams before pulling out a couple of assertive drives to nail two tough lay-up attempts.
Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault told reporters post-game Giddey played some of his best defence against the Bulls and “really closed the overtime”.
Giddey post-match told reporters it was one of his better defensive performances in the NBA while also praising his team’s ability to curtail the influence of Chicago’s two prime movers late.
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“We’ve been in this situation a fair few times before this year, especially recently, and I think we’ve learned from both games how to execute down the stretch at both ends of the floor,” Giddey said.
“We knew they (the Bulls) were going to go to (DeMar) DeRozan and (Zach) LaVine down the stretch and we did a good job of keeping our primary defenders on them and making them take and make some tough shots — and at the end of the day you live with the result.
“If you’re making teams make shot over a hand, like they were, you tip your hat. But we got some big stops down the stretch and we closed that game out.”
Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished with a team-high 30 points, including five straight free throws in the final minute of overtime to seal victory.
DeRozan (30 points) and LaVine (27) were the Bulls‘ top scorers.
‘DISRUPTER’ DANIELS A SHINING LIGHT IN BIG LOSS
It was a battle of the top two picks in the 2019 draft in New Orleans, where Ja Morant scored 23 points with four rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 132-111 victory over Zion Williamson’s Pelicans.
Williamson scored 14 points with five rebounds and four assists, but it was a more complete effort from the Grizzlies — who had double-digit contributions from Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson, Steven Adams, Brandon Clarke and David Roddy.
Aussie Dyson Daniels was a standout for the Pelicans off the bench. In just 25 minutes of game time, Daniels dropped nine points, six assists and five rebounds, with the Pelicans +18 when the rookie was on the court in a big loss.
Daniels and Giddey’s performances capped off a great day for Aussies in the NBA after Ben Simmons recorded 20 points on a perfect 8-of-8 shooting to go with six rebounds, three assists and a block for the Nets.
LEBRON LIFTS LAKERS
LeBron James returned from a five-game injury absence to score 21 points as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Spurs 105-94 in San Antonio for their first road win of the NBA season.
James pulled down eight rebounds and handed out five assists with three steals and a blocked shot in 33 minutes on the floor, with Lakers coach Darvin Ham saying the four-time NBA champion looked “phenomenal” after missing five games with a groin injury.
All eyes were on James, who is on pace — if he stays healthy — to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the league’s all-time leading scorer as early as February.
He scored the first basket of the contest as the Lakers quickly powered to a double-digit lead. They led 59-41 at halftime, but the young Spurs team had sliced the deficit to 81-78 by early in the fourth. The Lakers responded, with James pushing the ball up the court on the way to a dunk that took the lead back to 10 points.
“I felt pretty good,” James said. “I’ve been non-stop around the clock (getting treatment) for the last couple of weeks to get back on the floor.”
Anthony Davis scored 11 of his 25 points in the final period, finishing with a double-double that also included 15 rebounds.
“It was a great first half for us,” said Davis, who had stepped up to help the Lakers go 3-2 in James’s absence. “We came out in the fourth quarter and turned it back up.”
Ham was delighted with what he saw from his superstar, James’s nine turnovers notwithstanding.
“He was moving great,” Ham said. “Obviously there’s going to be some rust there … but I thought he looked great.”
James said he expected to be back on the floor when the Spurs hosted the Lakers again Saturday — and he expects to see improvement.
“My rhythm, my timing was a little off on a few of my passes,” he said. “But I’ll be a lot better as the games go on.”
CELTICS MOVE TO LEAGUE-BEST RECORD
The Boston Celtics, led by 30 points from Jayson Tatum, downed the red-hot Sacramento Kings 122-104 to improve their league-leading record to 15-4.
The Celtics survived a sloppy third quarter to down the Kings, whose eight wins in November included a seven-game winning streak that ended with a loss to Atlanta on Wednesday.
Boston led by as many as 16 early in the second quarter, but the Kings used a 40-point second period to cut the deficit to two points at halftime.
The Kings kept pushing in a third quarter that featured four lead changes. The game was tied 84-84 when Boston reserve Payton Pritchard drained a three-pointer and Tatum fed Luke Kornet for an alley-oop dunk. Tatum then came up with a steal and a basket, a rebound and a three-pointer to give the Celtics a 94-84 lead going into the fourth.
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Meanwhile, on a busy night in the NBA after a day off for the US Thanksgiving holiday, the Milwaukee Bucks rallied for a 117-102 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in a battle for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 38 points to lead the Bucks past the Cavaliers, who led by 16 in the first half but were outscored 35-10 in the third quarter as the hosts turned things around.
In Charlotte, Kelly Oubre scored 28 points and Terry Rozier added 22 as the Hornets held off Minnesota 110-108 to snap the Timberwolves’ five-game winning streak.
Portland notched an overtime victory, edging the New York Knicks 132-129.
Jerami Grant had a career-high 44 points — the most points by a Trail Blazers player at Madison Square Garden. He also attempted a club-record 28 free throws in the game.
— with AFP