Australian rookie Josh Giddey has stepped up in the absence of Shae Gilgeous-Alexander as the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped a seven-game NBA losing streak in a 98-81 home win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Giddey shouldered his extra responsibility with aplomb, playing 33 minutes for his 11th double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) of the season, setting a new franchise record for a rookie player, eclipsing the previous mark set by Russell Westbrook (10).
His 11 double-doubles also leads all rookies in 2021-22.
“It’s cool. The stats are all good but for me, it’s all about winning and the more wins we can get, the happier I’ll be,” Giddey said post-game.
— Bally Sports Oklahoma (@BallySportsOK) February 1, 2022
The 19-year-old Melbournian joined an exclusive club of teenagers to reach 500 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists in their first 45 career games, putting his name alongside LeBron James, Luka Doncic and LaMelo Ball.
Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC’s leading scorer, is out until after the All-Star break with a sprained right ankle.
The last time he was missing, Giddey became the youngest player in NBA history with a triple-double, registering 17 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.
Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence means more time for Giddey at point guard with the Aussie mostly playing off the ball while the Canadian was running the point.
“There’s gonna be more opportunities, there’s gonna be more minutes, there’s gonna be more touches, but the actual way that everybody’s playing, we’re not changing the messaging on that at all,” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said.
In Philadelphia, Tyrese Maxey scored 33 points, including a driving layup with 26.4 seconds left in overtime that put the 76ers ahead for good in the 122-119 win, without Joel Embiid (rested), over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Tobias Harris added 31 points and Andre Drummond had 16 points and 23 rebounds for the Sixers (31-19), who won their fifth game in a row and 15th in the past 18.
Stephen Curry scored 21 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Golden State Warriors over the Houston Rockets 122-108.
It was the sixth consecutive win for the Warriors (38-13), while Houston extended their skid at home to 11 straight games.
Curry made seven three-pointers, four in the fourth quarter, and had nine assists and five rebounds.
His 21 fourth-quarter points were the most of his career.
In other games the New York Knicks defeated the Sacramento Kings 116-96 while the Celtics accounted for the Miami Heat 122-92 in Boston.
The Cleveland Cavaliers edged out the New Orleans Pelicans 93-90, the Indiana Pacers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 122-116, and Atlanta’s seven-game winning streak came to an end with the Hawks going down 106-100 at home to the Toronto Raptors.