There were two games in the NBA today involving Australian and New Zealand Players.
Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder traveled to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks who were without Matthew Dellavedova through injury and gave Thon Maker no court time tonight. Despite controlling the game early, the Thunder ended up losing 98-94
Joe Ingles and the Utah Jazz traveled to Brooklyn to take on the Nets. For most of the game the Nets appeared in control until the final quarter when the Jazz came home stronger, winning 101-89
Adams was huge early for the Thunder. By half time he was shooting 7-of-7 and had the Thunder on a roll. He, Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo were playing quite well. Unfortunately, there was no other support scoring wise from the starter and only rookie Semaj Christian had double figure points off the bench.
Adams ended up playing 34 minutes and scoring 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including 2-of-2 from the line. Most of Adams points were scored on cuts, resulting in lay-ins and dunks.His two man offensive game with Westbrook was again a joy to watch.
Adams also collected eight rebounds and two assists. He was very active defensively collecting one steal and three blocks. He was plus five on the night, unfortunately for the Thunder, the bench could not get them over the line.
There are times that I have called Joe Ingles Mr Versatility. I am also about to start calling him The Barometer. When Ingles does well, the Jazz usually play well. I am not saying that Ingles is the most important Jazz player, that either Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward or George Hill. What Ingles is can be described in many ways, most of them positive.
Ingles played 27 minutes tonight against the Nets, that is the most of any bench player on the Jazz squad tonight. He played more time that Joe Johnson and a returning Alec Burks combined. Ingles did not shoot well tonight, he had five points on 2-of-6 from the field. His usual accuracy from three point land was not there tonight, where he was 1-of-4. So instead of helping the Jazz from beyond the arc, Ingles collected nine rebounds instead.
In a well rounded performance, Ingles also had two assists, one steal and one block. While these numbers are not earth shattering, the Jazz were at their best tonight with Ingles on the court. He was there for the time when the Jazz overcame the Nets resistance and came away with the win, going plus 21 on the night, the best number of any Jazz play for points differential.
In a contract year, the most unlikely looking NBA player is going to play himself into a nice pay day come seasons end.