There were three games in the NBA today which involved Australians.
Aron Baynes and the Detroit Pistons hosted the Chicago Bulls, beating them 102-91 to keep improving their home record to 7-4 on the year.
Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs traveled to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves. The Spurs prevailed 105-91 to keep alive their perfect away winning streak away from home.
Dante Exum, Joe Ingles and the Utah Jazz hosted the Phoenix Suns at the start of their five game home stand. The Jazz won 112-195 despite missing starting point guard George Hill.
Baynes had a really positive game tonight. In 23 minutes he almost collected a double double with eight points and nine rebounds. His points came on the back of 3-of-6 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from the line.
Three of Baynes nine rebounds came at the offensive end of the floor, which was one third of the nine offensive rebounds that the Pistons collected for the night. Baynes did a bit of everything tonight having one assist, two steals and one block.
While Baynes was in the game, Detroit outscored Chicago by 16 points. Considering that they only won by 11, Baynes performance was critical to the success of the Pistons.
What happens when the Minnesota Timberwolves go on a run at the start of the game that has them up by more than ten points? What also happens when the Spurs have only scored one point? Well, after five minutes of the game, Coach Gregg Popovich takes all five of his starters off the court and puts on five reserves. One of these reserves was Patty Mills, who, not for the first time, bought the Spurs back into the game.
In 26 minutes Mills had 15 points, second only to the Spurs team leader Kawhi Leonard who had 31 on the night. Milss scored his points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-7 from three. however, it was not just Mills shooting which was beneficial tonight. He collected four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
It was the five assists that really benefited the Spurs tonight. His driving and shooting was a concern for the Timberwolves but when they ollapsed their defense on him, Mills was able to find the open men, assisting Pau Gasol for a corner three and also assisting three of Sanny Green’s five points on the night which put the game out of the Timberwolves grasp.
The Spurs scored 29 more points that the Timberwolves when Mills was on the court. This was almost double the next best player on the Spurs team, Dwayne Dedmon who had a plus/minus of 17.
Exum started in place of injured point guard George Hill again for the Jazz and had another night marred by foul trouble. Exum could only play 16 minutes of the game due to the five fouls he collected early in the game.
In those 15 minutes, Exum scored seven points on 3-of-5 from the field including 1-of-2 from deep. Exum also collected three rebounds, one assist and one block on the night. In order to received more game time, Exum needs to ease up a little bit on the defensive reach ins and trust his center Rudy Gobert to clean up if his opponent beats him on the dribble.
Mr Versatility played 20 minutes tonight against the Phoenix Suns. He played more than usual due to the injury sustained by Rodney Hood in the second period of play. Ingles scored seven points on 2-of-4 shooting from the field, including 1-of-3 from deep. Ingles continued his good free throw shooting form, going 2-of-2 from the line.
In a quieter night on other stats, ingles only collected three rebounds and one assist.