Australian rookie Josh Giddey fires in shock Oklahoma City win over LA Lakers
Josh Giddey has notched the first double-double of his fledgling NBA career to help the Oklahoma City Thunder record their first win of the season with a surprise 123-115 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Australia’s No.6 draft pick had 18 points and 10 assists for the inexperienced Thunder, who trailed 41-19 after the first period of a match-up that pitted the league’s youngest team against its oldest.
Oklahoma City clawed their way back from a 26-point deficit as their offence clicked into gear midway through the second term.
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Giddey, who turned 19 earlier this month, became the third-youngest player in the NBA’s 75-year history to record 10 assists in a game behind only LeBron James, who did it twice.
The Melbourne product impressed with his vision and passing ability through traffic and soft touch around the basket, but one stray pass almost cost his team dearly in the dying seconds.
The Thunder led 118-115 when Giddey’s inbound pass was snatched by Carmelo Anthony, who missed a three-point attempt that could have sent the game to overtime.
Luguentz Dort nailed a pair of free-throws to ice the game while Lakers star Russell Westbrook was ejected after a second technical foul against his former team in a feisty finish.
All five Thunder starters notched double-figure points tallies, with Giddey’s back-court partner Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the way with 27.
The win came after Mark Daigneault’s team started the season 0-4 with defeats to Utah, Houston, Philadelphia and Golden State.
Patty Mills had a rough shooting night as the Brooklyn Nets suffered a 106-93 home loss to the Miami Heat, despite a game-high 25 points from superstar Kevin Durant.
Mills, who reeled off 10 consecutive three-point attempts across the opening two games of the season, was 0-of-6 from long range and 1-of-9 from the field against the Heat, contributing just four points along with five assists.
Teammate Joe Harris overtook Jason Kidd as the Nets’ all-time leader for three-pointers, moving to 816 successful attempts on 5-of-11 long-range shooting.
But the Heat were too strong for their hosts behind Bam Adebayo’s 24 points and 17 from Jimmy Butler.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 40 points and 16 rebounds but the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks lost 113-108 to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
Montrezl Harrell (25 points and 11 rebounds) and Spencer Dinwiddie (22 points) starred as the Washington Wizards held off the Boston Celtics 116-107.
Trae Young scored 31 points as the Atlanta Hawks held off the New Orleans Pelicans 102-99, while Miles Bridges scored 31 points as the Charlotte Hornets returned to the win column with a 120-111 victory over the Orlando Magic.
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