Home Australia ‘You can’t shy away’: Rival’s plans backfire as Giddey helps Thunder set NBA record

‘You can’t shy away’: Rival’s plans backfire as Giddey helps Thunder set NBA record

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'You can't shy away': Rival's plans backfire as Giddey helps Thunder set NBA record

Josh Giddey’s triple gift in the fourth quarter in New Orleans secured a 4-0 sweep and a first in eight years in the NBA for Oklahoma City.

The Thunder beat the Pelicans 97-89 on Tuesday (AEST), with Giddey (14 points on four of six three-pointers) seizing the moment with three clutch three-pointers in a defining charge of the fourth quarter.

The Australian guard had 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists in OKC’s other road loss to New Orleans, crucial contributions after a quiet performance in the opener that drew criticism.

With a 4-0 series win, the Western Conference’s top seeds (the youngest team to accomplish that feat and the youngest to win a playoff series) advance to the second round for the first time since 2016.

“There are some scenarios where you feel good and this is probably one of them for me,” said the 21-year-old Victorian.

“These are the moments you want to be in. Not even the last 18 or 24 months – all the work you do before that gets you to this point and you can’t shy away from it when you get to this stage.”

Giddey said focusing on holding his own defensively had kept the door ajar for his fourth-quarter fireworks after NBA Coach of the Year Mark Daigneault benched Giddey during the final minutes of their close victory. in the first game.

“Teams will attack (defensive responsibilities)… that’s how you play from the court and I never wanted to be that guy,” he said.

“I wanted to be on the court in the playoffs.”

The Thunder will next face the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers or Boomers wing Josh Green’s fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks; that series is tied 2-2.

Jalen Williams and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points for Oklahoma City, which trailed by five in the fourth quarter before taking control with a combination of stifling defense and opportunistic shooting.

A 3-pointer by Giddey tied the score at 80-80 and sparked their 18-2 run, capped by a second-chance 3-pointer by Williams, which put the Thunder up 93-82 with 3:08 left.

The Pels, who played the entire series without star power forward Zion Williamson, never recovered.

In Denver, Jamal Murray (32 points) scored the game-winning goal for the Nuggets with three seconds left, their 108-106 victory sending LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers packing 4-1.

Nikola Jokic had 25 points, 20 rebounds and nine assists for the Nuggets, who had swept the Lakers in the first round last season.

James scored 30 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. He will turn 40 next year, and now attention turns to whether he exercises his player option this offseason.

In Miami, Derrick White scored a career-high 38 points as Boston beat the Heat 102-88 to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference series.

But it was a costly victory, with Kristaps Porzingis going down in the first half with what the team said was a right calf injury.

Bam Adebayo finished with 25 points, 17 rebounds and five assists for Miami, which returned to play without injured starters Jimmy Butler (knee) and Terry Rozier (neck).

Boomers guard Patty Mills earned some extended court time for the Heat in an otherwise quiet playoff campaign, scoring nine points in 22 minutes.

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