Giddey scores second NBA triple-double in eight days
Josh Giddey has registered his fourth triple-double of the NBA season in a 121-107 comeback victory over Brooklyn that pushes Oklahoma City into eighth spot on the western conference standings.
Fellow Australians Patty Mills and Ben Simmons watched on as 20-year-old Giddey charged through the paint midway through the fourth quarter, spun to beat a defender and launched a jump shot that confirmed his second triple-double in eight days.
In scoring his eighth career triple-double, Giddey was his usual busy self under the rim, pulling down a game-high 13 rebounds to go with more assists than any other Thunder player (11).
In eight games this month, Giddey has averaged just shy of a triple-double with 17.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 9.3 assists.
When Giddey drained a deep three-pointer with little more than two minutes to play, the Thunder had a game-high lead of 14 points and had sealed a comeback victory after the new-look Nets led by 16 points just before half-time.
"The underrated thing about a game like that is when you're down 16 ... (and) a team is playing with that juice, and the game's not quite going your way, not getting knocked out in that period is the key to winning a game like tonight," Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said.
"We didn't go down 25 and we easily could have. We just kind of hung in there long enough for the game to turn."
Brooklyn's Simmons missed his 11th straight game with knee and back injuries, while coach Jacque Vaughn denied Mills any time on the floor.
The Thunder (34-35) have now won six of their last seven games and moved from 11th to eighth place on the western conference standings with their defeat of the Nets.
The teams ranked seventh to 10th in each conference will feature in the play-in tournament, where they will compete for the two play-off spots that remain in each conference.
With 13 games to play, it is not out of the question that the Thunder qualify directly for the play-offs - they are currently only two wins behind the sixth-placed LA Clippers.
But things are not looking so rosy for Australian rookie Dyson Daniels and the New Orleans Pelicans, who have not won back-to-back games in more than a month and risk dropping out of the race for the same play-in tournament.
After playing more than 20 minutes in the 12th-placed Pels' last two games, Daniels was relegated to a bit-part as the LA Lakers comfortably beat New Orleans 123-108.
LeBron James missed his eighth consecutive game with a foot injury.
Elsewhere, the Toronto Raptors upset western conference leaders Denver with a 125-110 home win in which Fred VanVleet had 36 points.
The Raptors scored 49 points in the first quarter, a franchise record, to hand the slumping Nuggets their fourth-straight loss.
Elsewhere, Joe Ingles continued to provide value off the Milwaukee bench in a 116-104 defeat of the Phoenix Suns.
The Australian veteran finished with seven assists and six points to help the Bucks consolidate top spot on the eastern conference standings.