Here were two games today in the NBA involving Australians
Dante Exum, Joe Ingles and the Utah Jazz hosted the league leading Golden State Warriors. They only lost by seven, 106-99 which was pretty impressive considering Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood and George Hill were all not playing tonight
Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs traveled to Chicago to take on the Bulls. In a game where the Spurs starters struggled early, and went down as much as 18 points in the third quarter, the four point loss 91-95 was a respectable but unacceptable loss.
In technical terms, Exum stank from the field tonight. He started at shooting guard with the injury to Hood, playing 36 minutes and scoring two points, one 1-of-11 shooting. He could not buy a long range bucket, going 0-of-5 from deep. Fortunately Exum is a very good basketball player and was able to contribute in other areas. Exum collected three rebounds, including one on the offensive end.
His distribution tonight was exception, having a season high five assists. Exum has been fouling at lot early in the last few games. Tonight he did have four fouls but was a lot smarter with when he committed them tonight. Even though his shooting was so poor, Exum had broke even on his plus/minus for the night. Shelvin Mack, his greatest competition for minutes when Hill comes back scored 19 points and also had five assists in 37 minutes. The difference is, Mack had a plus/minus of negative 17 on the night.
It is not often that I can say this but Mr Versatility was the team high scorer for the Utah Jazz with 21 points. Only Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warrior had more points on the night in the game with 26. Ingles did his best to provide Gordon Hayward numbers again as the Jazz star was not playing tonight. Ingles played 34 minutes, the most of any reserve. His 21 points were made of of 7-of-13 from the field, 5-of-9 from deep and 2-of-3 from the line.
In his best all round game of the season, Ingles also had five rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block. His plus minus was also game high for the Jazz with plus 11, helping bring the Jazz back into the game that they were out of early, trailing by over 20 points in the first quarter.
Mills was huge again tonight. The starters again gave up a lead in the first quarter. Mills came on and led all spurs scorers with five points. On the night however, Mills played 23 minutes, ending up with 16 points on the night. He went 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep.
Mills also collected one rebound and two assists for the night. This number would have been higher except for the poor shooting from the Spurs. Manu Ginobili, who is usually a quality shooter went 0-of-9 from the field. LaMarcus Aldridge, another quality scorer went 5-of-15 from the field and Jonathon Simmons went 1-of-7 from the field. Mills almost dragged the Spurs back into the game with Kawhi Leonard and Pau Gasol but they did fall short.