Just over a week after coming within a whisker of posting a triple-double, Aussie young gun Josh Giddey did something no NBA player has done in half a century.
The 19-year-old Oklahoma City Thunder guard, known for his incisive passing game, finished the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday afternoon (AEDT) with 10 rebounds and 10 assists to his name – but did not score a single point.
It’s the first time in 50 years a player has recorded a double-double without scoring.
Three-time NBA All-Star Norm Van Lier did the same playing for the Chicago Bulls in 1971.
Watch the 21/22 NBA Season with ESPN on Kayo. Live coverage every week plus every game of the NBA Finals. New to Kayo? Start your free trial >
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said he could tell Giddey was “frustrated” with his inability to score.
“If you’re playing 82 games (in a season), long minutes, night after night, there are going to be lots of ups and downs,” he said post-match.
“There are going to be times when you’re in rhythm, there are going to be times when your body’s sore, there are going to be times when you feel like your shooting is effortless.
“You’ve got to be able to find some consistency and tap into the things that you can rely on every night and that you can control every night. To his credit, I thought for a lot of the game he controlled a lot of what he could control.
“I think he was frustrated by the shooting and who can blame him?”
Daigneault said he hoped Giddey would be stronger for the experience.
“At some point you’ve just got to move past it and lose yourself in the game,” he said.
“I think it was a good lesson for him, to be able to play through that. It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows.”
The Thunder managed to hold on to record a five-point win over the Pelicans even without Giddey’s name on the score sheet.
In the sides’ last meeting, Pelicans guard Devonte’ Graham landed a buzzer-beating three-pointer from 19 metres away to break the Thunder’s hearts and steal a three-point win.
Giddey played an entire quarter for the first time in his young NBA career in that game.
Jock has landed
Jock Landale has outdone himself.
The towering Aussie turned in the most damaging performance of his young NBA career on Monday afternoon (AEDT), helping his San Antonio Spurs to a huge win over the Detroit Pistons 144-109.
The NBL’s 2020/21 grand final MVP caught the eye of Spurs and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich during the Boomers’ bronze medal-winning campaign at the Tokyo Games but initially struggled for consistent minutes on joining the Spurs this season.
He was promoted to back-up centre for the match against the Sacramento Kings earlier this month and has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Landale came nailbitingly close to recording his first NBA double-double in the win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Eve (AEDT) but was even more devastating against the struggling Pistons three days later.
The 211cm-tall Aussie landed seven of his nine attempts from the field for a career-high total of 18 points in less than 17 minutes of game time.
He also equalled his personal best haul of assists (three) to go with five rebounds and a block.
Depleted by the league’s Covid-19 protocols and languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference ladder, the Pistons had no answer for Landale and co.
The Spurs registered their highest total of the season in the shellacking and have now won each of their last three games by at least 20 points.
At full-time, coach Popovich praised Landale’s basketball smarts.
“He’s an intuitive player. He knows how to play the game,” he said.
“He understands what’s going on, he’s good with the ball, good passer. Makes good decisions. Doesn’t try to do things he’s not capable of doing. He plays a wise game.”
The praise for Landale didn’t end there. Landale’s Spurs teammate Tre Jones said the Aussie was “playing amazing” basketball in his first NBA season.
“I am really happy for him. He is a competitor and very versatile on offence and can stretch the floor. He is always competing,” Jones said.
Landale is set to come up against Boomers teammate Joe Ingles for the second time this season when the Spurs meet the Utah Jazz on Tuesday afternoon (AEDT).
Jock Landale back-to-back games 🔥 👏🏻
— Chris Anstey (@ChrisAnstey13) December 27, 2021
Jock Landale’s defense has really impressed me.
Not just for a rookie not known for defense, his range and length and anticipation and aggression have all just looked solid of late.
— Tom Petrini (@RealTomPetrini) December 27, 2021