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Australians in the NBA – Mills impresses for Heat

Australians in the NBA – Mills impresses for Heat

Australia’s Patty Mills has made a promising debut for Miami, but it wasn’t enough to spare the Heat from going down to Oklahoma City by seven points.

Used sparingly by his former club Atlanta before being waived, the Boomers veteran enjoyed 16 minutes of court time with the Heat in the 107-100 loss.

Mills posted 13 points and had two rebounds, putting him behind only Jaime Jaquez Jr (25), Jimmy Butler (20) and Terry Rozier (14) in Miami’s points scoring.

But once again it was the Shai Gilgeous-Alexander show, with the in-form Thunder star registering 37 points, five rebounds and six assists.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 of his points in the second half of Friday night’s clash, as the Thunder – who sit top of the western conference – overcame a 14-point deficit to win.

He made 13 of 25 field goals and nine of 11 free throws. 

The NBA’s No.2 scorer was greeted with chants of “M-V-P, M-V-P” when he went to the line in the fourth quarter as he helped the Thunder take control.

Jalen Williams scored 15 points and Australian Josh Giddey added 11 more, plus nine rebounds and six assists, in another valuable performance for the Thunder. 

Miami led 57-47 at halftime behind 50 per cent shooting. Jaquez scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting before the break.

The Heat extended the lead to 65-51 the third quarter, but Oklahoma City erased the deficit four minutes later.

Gilgeous-Alexander tied it at 65 on a free throw after a basket midway through the period. 

The Thunder took a 68-65 lead on a 3-pointer by Williams that Gilgeous-Alexander assisted to close out a 17-0 run.

The Thunder led 77-73 at the end of the third after holding Miami to 5-for-17 shooting in the period. 

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 11 points in the quarter to help Oklahoma City outscore Miami 30-16.

Gilgeous-Alexander took his usual rest at the start of the fourth, and Oklahoma City led 87-85 when he subbed back in with seven minutes 16 seconds remaining. 

He scored 12 points the rest of the way to keep the Thunder in control.

In Washington, Kyle Kuzma scored 28 points and Deni Avdija added 18 as the Wizards snapped a 16-game losing streak with a 112-100 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Darius Garland scored 34 points, while Jarrett Allen added a career-high 33 and had 18 rebounds as the injury-thinned Cleveland handed the NBA’s best road team a loss, beating Minnesota 113-104 in overtime.

Allen made a career-best 15 free throws, including 14 after halftime. 

He scored 10 points in overtime as the Cavs outscored the Timberwolves 16-7. 

Cleveland were without starters Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Max Strus because of injuries.

In other matches, the Philadelphia 76ers lost at home to the New Orleans Pelicans 103-95, the New York Knicks beat the Orlando Magic 98-74 while the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 99-92 away.