Aussies in NBA: Four Aussies take to the floor in Utah
|Kyle Standfield||Feb 2, 2017|
Australian basketball was well represented when the Milwaukee Bucks travelled to Utah to take on the Jazz, with four Aussies featuring heavily in the contest.
The Bucks' Aussie duo of Matthew Dellavedova and Thon Maker made the start for Milwaukee while fellow countrymen Joe Ingles and Dante Exum came of the bench for Utah to help the Jazz secure a 104-88 victory.
The quartet of Aussies posed for a quick snap pre-game before playing what turned out to be a mixed bag of performances from each of them.
In his second consecutive start, Thon Maker managed to set new career highs in points, blocks and minutes played by finishing with 12 points, five rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes of action (full highlights). He showed his soft touch from distance, knocking down three of his four attempts from distance. Maker also continued to provide a plethora of highlight plays, blocking Jazz big man Rudy Gobert as well as flushing home an alley-oop off a beautiful dish from Matthew Dellavedova.
That pass to Maker marked one of Dellavedova's seven assists of the game (full highlights). The Bucks playmaker struggled from the field however, shooting just 33% on his way to scoring five points. The Jazz currently have the second best defensive rating at 105.1 and give up the fewest points in the league. Dellavedova appeared to struggle against the stifling Jazz defence, as did Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored a season low four points.
Joe Ingles made up an integral part of that stifling Jazz defence, coming away with three steals throughout the game. The sharpshooting specialist had a major impact on the outcome despite connecting on just one of his four attempts from distance. Ingles managed to stuff the stat sheet during his 23 minutes of action, recording three points, three rebounds, five assists as well as the three steals.
Jazz head coach Quinn Snyder continued to play Dante Exum sporadically, giving the young Aussie just seven minutes of floor time. Exum posted three points and two rebounds during his short stint.
From an Australian perspective, the game was a showcase of current, established Aussie talent as well as a glimpse at what the future has to offer. While the game on Friday featured a mixed bag of performances, basketball fans down under should feel encouraged to see so many Aussies running around on the same NBA floor.
Aussies in NBA highlights