In case it wasn’t obvious, Josh Giddey loves playing at Madison Square Garden.
Oklahoma City Thunder beat writer Brandon Rahbar described it as a “coming out party” for the Australian in his rookie season, when Giddey put up a 28-point triple-double in an overtime win over the Knicks.
Now he has done it again.
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Mon, 14 Nov
Monday November 14th
Giddey is silky in 2OT loss to Bucks! | 00:59
Giddey lit up the Garden in a comfortable 145-135 win in the early hours of Monday morning (AEDT), scoring 24 points to go with 12 assists and 10 rebounds — his fifth career triple-double.
With it, Giddey also joined NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player in league history to record triple-doubles in their first two games at the Garden.
Told by a reporter post-match about his impressive feat, the Aussie couldn’t help but smile, but it’s clear Giddey’s priority lies with the team.
“Anytime you can be mentioned within the names of greats like that, it’s special,” he said.
“But basketball is a team game, so if those things contribute to winning and helping my guys around me be better, then it makes it worth it.”
Speaking after last year’s breakout game against the Knicks, Giddey spoke about how he had been looking to playing at the Garden since being drafted by the Thunder.
He again admitted his excitement to play at the iconic venue.
“We come here once a year, so you’ve got to have fun while you’re here,” Giddey said.
“Luckily in my time we’ve had two wins so far so it’s been good so far.
“It’s a fun place to play — obviously the most famous arena in the world — I always have this arena circled on my calendar and I can’t wait to come back next year.”
There was some late drama though, with Giddey’s initial rebound to claim the triple-double being taken away before the Australian grabbed another board with 14 seconds left.
It also marked a season-high scoring performance from the 20-year old, who shot 10-of-14 from the field (71 per cent) with two triples.
After a disrupted start to the season hampered by an ankle setback, Giddey is now starting to get rolling, averaging 19 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists from his last three games.
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said Giddey found his rhythm late in the second game with Milwaukee through his offensive rebounding.
The young gun said he’s at his best when he’s “getting downhill” and using his size.
“The floaters haven’t been dropping for me this year, so just trying to get into the paint, staying confident with my shot and just reading what the defence is giving me,” Giddey said.
“I’ve started to realise I’m usually a bit bigger than a lot of these guys guarding me, so trying to finish over the top of them and being stronger with the ball.
“Things I’ve been working on at practice and trying to emulate that in a game, but it felt good out there.”
Giddey’s teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also put on a show in the win, finishing with 37 points eight assists, five rebounds and three steals as he continues his stunning start to the season.
And so the duo combined for an epic 61 points, 20 assists and 15 rebounds.
While there were question marks over the pair’s fit in the backcourt, Giddey hopes people can now see just how effective the two can be now and into the future.
“It’s great playing with him,” Giddey said.
“I think our chemistry is going to continue to grow and hopefully we can be a hell of a backcourt for a long time.”
OKC won its second straight game after snapping a four-game losing streak against the Raptors over the weekend to now sit 6-7 overall.
Despite the dazzling individual play of Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey, a team-first mentality is clearly helping this rebuilding team exceed expectations.
“That’s the best thing about our team — we’ve got such an unselfish and willing group that buys into what we’re doing a team,’ Giddey said.
“No one goes off on their own ventures trying to do it themselves.
“We have five guys on the four, guys on the bench are active and talking and the coaching staff is engaged.
“It runs through the whole group … we always pride ourselves and preach getting it done with five guys.
“The more we can do that and get everyone involved and feeling good, hopefully the more wins it could lead to.”