There were two games today in the NBA involving Australians
Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs traveled to Atlanta to take on the Hawks. Unfortunately for the Spurs, the Hawks defended their home court well, beating them in overtime, 112-114.
Aron Baynes and the Detroit Pistons traveled to Miami to take on the Heat. The Pistons were too good for the ice cold Heat, taking this contest 107-98
Mills had another quiet game, but this time it mattered to the Spurs. Mills played 21 minutes and only scored five points on 2-of-8 shooting. From deep, Mills went 1-of-4. Normally when Mills is not shooting well, his passing game comes to the fore but he was only able to give out three assists.
Mills third quiet game in a row coincided with Tony Parker’s third straight high scoring game. Parker had 22 points and five assists . The season appears to be turning for the San Antonio system. At the start of the season the starters were struggling against teams but now are doing a tremendous job. It is now the bench that is struggling to keep the Spurs in the game.
Baynes had an ineffective game tonight, only playing nine minutes in the victory. In this time he scored two points on 1-of-1 shooting and had four rebounds. Unfortunately for Baynes and the Pistons, the back up center had teammate Marcus Morris fall on his leg in the third period, causing Baynes to be helped off the court, grimacing and limping. It is unsure how much time Baynes will miss.
The NBA is an unforgiving league with the 82 game format for the season. If you get a niggling injury you can miss a lot of games. There are high number of leg injuries and Australians are no exception. Now we can add Baynes to the following list.
Ben Simmons is expected to return some time in January from the surgery he had preseason to repair a Jones fracture in his foot. When he plays, Simmons will slot into the starting line up quite soon after his debut, if not on his opening night.
Matthew Dellavedova has missed the last two games for the Milwaukee Bucks with a hamstring strain. Hopefully he will return soon but in his absence, rookie point guard Malcolm Brogdon has been making hay. He produced his first triple double of his career in the recent game against the Chicago Bulls. Hopefully Jason Kidd likes Dellavedovas gritty play in the starting lineup enough to return him to his starters role when he returns from injury.
Dante Exum is still out with an undisclosed timetable for his return with knee tendinitis. With George Hill back in the line up, hopefully returning from the concussion caused by the Alex Len elbow in the last game, Exum will have reduced minutes. This is good for the Jazz and unfortunate for Exum. Hill has been a great player for the Jazz when on the court and Exum has looked a little like he is trying to much.
Andrew Bogut missed most of December with a bone bruise to his left knee. He returned late in the month on minutes restrictions and continued to rebound at an impressive rate. Hopefully the Mavericks can get all their starters healthy and make a late run for the Playoffs. Time will tell.