The Josh Giddey bandwagon continues to gather excited passengers, with the young Australian star producing a fifth double-double, career-high points tally and the best quarter of his NBA stint yet.
After falling two points short of a first career triple-double on Sunday (AEDT), Giddey was a major offensive threat during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 102-99 win over Memphis on Tuesday, finishing with an equal career-high 19 points, a career-high 11 assists and five rebounds.
By half-time, Giddey already had 14 points to his name, including three three-pointers. Most notably, all 14 of Giddey’s points came in the second quarter as he notched the first double-digit scoring quarter of his NBA career.
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The ability to connect from deep would’ve been a major confidence booster for the 19-year-old, who’d shot at just 14.3 per cent from three-point territory in his previous eight games.
Giddey then reignited his passing game in the third term, setting up field goals for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort and Derrick Favors as the Thunder overtook the Grizzlies during a stretch where they outscored the home team 58-44 across the second and third terms.
And as the two teams jostled for the lead in a seesawing fourth quarter, Giddey made some crucial plays in the dying minutes, setting up a Kenrich Williams triple before making a lay-up with 50 seconds to go.
Then with the Thunder leading by just one point with 17.9 seconds remaining, Giddey fooled the Grizzlies defence with a shrewd in-bounds pass to a cutting Gilgeous-Alexander, who finished the play with a dunk.
“I told the guys when I got it out of bounds: ‘Be ready because I’m going to throw those balls to the ring,’” Giddey told the host broadcaster post-match.
“I told Shai: ‘They’re going to overplay you, so just cut to the ring and you’re going have two points.’
“They trust me to in-bound and that’s why I in-bound to make plays like that.”
Along with 19 points, Giddey finished with 11 assists, bettering the 10 he produced against the Lakers in October and the Clippers on Sunday. He became the first Thunder rookie to achieve consecutive 10-plus assist games since Russell Westbrook in 2009.
As per ESPN, Giddey became the second teenager in NBA history to have 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a two-game, span joining LaMelo Ball.
Asked post-game why he was able to get going offensively, Giddey said: “Just staying confident. I mean shots weren’t falling in the first quarter, but staying with it.
“My guys got me semi-good screens, which changed some things in the second quarter. We made some team adjustments and it allowed me to get free.”
Williams post-game labelled Giddey a “special talent”.
“It’s amazing to watch Josh grow as a player,” Williams told reporters.
“The future is very bright for him. Very happy to have him on our team.”