Australian star Josh Giddey says he lost 10 pounds while having a non-covid-related illness that has caused him to miss the last two Oklahoma City Thunder games.
Giddey returned to the court Thursday (AEDT) and impressed in the Thunder’s 101-98 win over Portland, finishing with 13 points of 6-of-8 shooting from the field to go along with six assists and six rebounds.
Giddey’s ability to find teammates on the court was on display again, highlighted by a tremendous rebound pass to Luguentz Dort, who nailed the dunk.
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What made the 20-year-old’s performance even more impressive was the fact that Giddey lost weight while ill.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Giddey revealed that the illness was so severe that he lost 10 pounds while sidelined, but added that he “felt good” on the court in his return game.
“I thought I would be short of breath… but I felt great,” Giddey told reporters.
Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said after the game that he was surprised that Giddey not only managed 31 minutes, but played at such a high level considering the circumstances.
“He played more than I thought he was going to be able to play just based on his conditioning and how he was with the disease,” Daigneault said.
“I was impressed with how he played. I thought he had a good jolt and was able to sustain long minutes.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 27 points for the Thunder, who have now won three straight after a five-game losing streak.
CHAMPS’ NIGHTMARE AS STEPH SINKS INTO REALITY
One day after being crushed by the New York Knicks, the Golden State Warriors on Thursday (all times AEDT) suffered a brutal beating by the Brooklyn Nets 143-113 to continue their journey of terror.
It was a one-sided affair from the start, with the Nets exploding out of the gates with a 46-point first quarter to open up a 29-point lead.
The hosts showed no mercy in the second quarter as they racked up another 45 points to add a wild total of 91 points in the first half alone and lead by 40.
The 91 points marked a franchise record for the Nets, and according to ESPN, the 40-point margin was the largest halftime deficit by a defending champion in NBA history. It was also the third-highest first half point total in league history.
By then, the game was almost over, though the Warriors put up more of a fight in the second half, including cutting their deficit to 106-79 late in the third after Ty Jerome’s 3-pointer.
But ultimately, it’s the closest Steve Kerr’s side would get to the final buzzer in a major reality check for the remaining reigning champs without Andrew Wiggins (groin) and Steph Curry (shoulder), while Klay Thompson was handled on this one.
Playing without Kyrie Irving (calf strain), Brooklyn shot hyper-effective 64% from the field and 63% from center, with Kevin Durant (23 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals in 29 minutes) leading nine Nets players in a double. scoring figure including Ben Simmons (10 points, four rebounds, eight assists in 19 minutes).
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On the plus side, though, James Wiseman racked up a career-high 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting and six rebounds.
With the Knicks losing to Toronto, Brooklyn’s seven-game winning streak is now the best in the NBA, cementing the fourth seed in the East.
Meanwhile, Golden State lost its fifth game of the last six to end a nightmare road trip, slipping out of the play-in qualifiers.
STRANGE LATE ENTRY FAILURE AMID SHOCK KNICKS LOSS
The New York Knicks’ eight-game winning streak came to an end in a 113-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Madison Square Garden.
Pascal Siakam walked away with a career-high 52 points with nine rebounds and seven assists, while Fred VanVleet added 28 points, as the Raptors savored victory after six straight losses.
“It felt good to win,” Siakam said.
“It didn’t matter if it was on the road or at home, we just wanted a win.
“We have been going through a difficult time and now the most important thing is to build on it,” he added.
Julius Randle and RJ Barrett led the Knicks with 30 points each in the loss.
The Knicks were able to stay close thanks to their efficient offense that included 52.6 percent shooting from the field and Barrett’s 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Five missed free throws, four by Randle, didn’t help his cause.
Randle had a moment to forget late in the game, missing an open layup with his side trailing 102-106 with 47 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
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CELTICS FALL THIRD CORRECT
The Boston Celtics’ woes also continued Thursday, falling to the Indiana Pacers at home 117-112 as their losing streak reached three games.
The Celtics went down big early, even trailing by 30 points at one stage in the first half.
It drew boos from the always passionate fans at TD Garden as the Celtics faithful released their thoughts on the team’s performance.
“This is the first time (Boston coach) Joe (Mazzulla) has heard this,” Celtics commentator Mike Gorman said of the brutal response from home fans.
However, Boston fought their way back into the game in the second half, erupting for 42 points in the third period to make it a 15-point game on the last turnaround.
And the hosts kept pressing down the stretch, with a layup from Malcolm Brogdon followed by three from Jaylen Brown pulling them within five points with 3:06 remaining.
However, Indiana responded with a 3-and-1 by Tyrese Haliburton and Myles Turner to reopen a double-digit lead and end the contention.
Haliburton led the way with 33 points and eight assists in the win as the Pacers got back to .500 at 16-16 and moved back up to the eighth seed.
Tatum was the leading scorer with 41, but the Celtics (22-10), who despite being atop the Eastern Conference for most of the season, aren’t just a half-game ahead of the Cavaliers, who occupy the third place.
The Cleveland Cavaliers made a 114-106 victory statement over the Milwaukee Bucks with 36 points from Donovan Mitchell.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was at his best with 45 points, 16 in the fourth quarter as he tried to get his team back in the game, 14 boards and two blocks, but in the end it wasn’t enough.
The third-placed Cavs (22-11) are now just one game behind the East-leading Bucks (22-9).
Mitchell was 15 of 16 from the free throw line, including 9 of 9 in the quarter, but was also ably supported by 23 points from Darius Garland and 19 points from Jarrett Allen.
The Cavaliers are 16-2 on home court, the best record in the NBA.
“We needed it,” Allen said. “We lost on their court twice and we needed to show them that we are here to play.”
Those two losses had sent Cleveland fading in the third quarter and Allen said it was crucial that they stay on top of their game throughout.
“That gives us a lot of satisfaction, we didn’t let the third quarter stop us, we went out and attacked, we defended and we did it all,” he said.
In Atlanta, Ayo Dosunmu hit a jumper at the buzzer as the Bulls defeated the Atlanta Hawks 110-108 despite the visitors blowing an 18-point lead.
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DeMar DeRozan missed from left, but Dosunmu grabbed the rebound and won Chicago’s second straight game.
After a four-game losing streak, Chicago has now tied two wins to improve to 13-18.
DeMar DeRozan had 28 points for Chicago, while Trae Young led Atlanta in scoring with 34 points. team and talk about disharmony in the locker room.
Trae Young’s 34 led all scorers in a tough loss for Atlanta with a chance to win its third straight game.
The Orlando Magic won seven of eight as they rallied from a 15-point second-half deficit to beat the Rockets 116-110 in Houston.
German Franz Wagner scored 25 points for the Magic with rookie Paolo Banchero adding 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
— with AFP and New York Post
DOLLARS 106 KNIGHTS 114
PISTONS 93 76ERS 113
BULLS 110 HAWKS 108
PACEMAKER 117 CELTS 112
WARRIORS 113 NETWORKS 143
raptors 113 KNICKS 106
MAGIC 116 ROCKETS 110
MAVERICKS 104 TIMBER WOLVES 99
TRAIL 98 JACKETS THUNDER 101
LAKERS 120 KINGS 134
HORNETS 105 CUTTERS 126