Thon Maker and Matthew Dellavedova celebrated Australia Day in perfect style.
The Milwaukee Bucks collected a dominant victory over the Brooklyn Nets, while Maker put forth one of the better performances of his sophomore season. The Australian finished with 11 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocks in 19 minutes.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the charge, Maker was a perfect complement as Milwaukee controlled the Nets from start to finish. Dellavedova enjoyed a more subdued, yet equally effective night as he finished with 3 points and 5 assists in 20 minutes of playing time.
Bucks interim head coach Joe Prunty was pleased with Maker’s performance, acknowledging that he is making strides on his developmental path. “I thought Thon had a positive night,” Pruty said postgame.
2018 marks the second Australia Day spent by this duo in Milwaukee. Last season, the Bucks were defeated by the Philadelphia 76ers, but the experience was more enjoyable this time around, especially now that Dellavedova has returned to full health, following a right knee injury. This has allowed the pair to re-deploy their Aussie Connect in an attempt to propel the Bucks up the Eastern Conference standings.
Maker spoke with The Pick and Roll about what it means to play on Australia Day and instantly acknowledged those back home. “I spoke to a lot people back home and they wished me a happy Aussie Day,” Maker said. “I did the same. It’s pretty cool.’
While the occasion is a chance for a nation to celebrate, it also offers these Australians a chance to play around with their teammates.
“It’s fun for me and Delly,” Maker said. “We talked about it yesterday and laughed about it. Taking about the things you do on Australia Day. Trying to educate these Americans about it.”
The education process of is a source of much delight for Maker. As he explains it, his American teammates just don’t understand the basics of being an Australian. When quizzed on what causes the most banter within the Bucks locker room, Maker reinforced those tried and tested stereotypes.
“Mostly with what you eat,” Maker explained with a smile. “My teammates try to make fun of the accent. They are like ‘you guys do shrimp on the barbie, mate’ or something like that. They make up some stuff like that.”
Australia Day brings some much needed humour during a long NBA season, while also offering an opportunity for the Bucks to regroup after a tumultuous week. With Jason Kidd being fired on Monday and Antetokounmpo struggling with niggling injuries prior to this game, stability is something the Bucks are striving for ahead of the All-Star break.
The same came be said for their two Australians, each of whom have endured their own setbacks this season. Both are now fit and equipped with familiar roles within Prunty’s rotation.
With Maker and Dellavedova now coming off the bench, the duo headline reserve units that bracket the first and third quarters.
“Delly is in my unit, on the second unit," Maker explained. “When we come in, we try get some energy going.” This is exactly what both men did against Brooklyn.
“Delly is fun,” Maker added. “He had his little setback early in the season where he was rehabbing his knee. But he is back and when he came back he closed some really good games for us. Now he is back in the flow."
Ben Simmons set the standard of how to celebrate Australia Day with his monstrous performance against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. Maker and Dellavedova aren’t capable of such dominance, but each did their best imitation tonight and helped secure a comfortable victory for the Bucks. Happy Australia Day indeed!