Andersen nets 11 in NBA debut

Andersen nets 11 in NBA debut

Franston product David Andersen made his Rockets debut today when Houston took on the Trailblazers at the Rose Garden in Portland.

Andersen scored 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting including 1-of-1 from the three-point line to go with 5 rebounds and 1 assist in 19 minutes on court.

He collected four fouls along the way and was the most efficient player (+8) on the Rockets team in a 96-87 loss.

In other games, Boston got a road win against the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-89 despite 38 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 4 blocked shots for LeBron James; Washington upset Dallas in Texas 102-91 with Gilbert Arenas posting 29 points and 9 rebounds; and the Lakers beat the Clippers 99-92 with Kobe Bryant dropping 33.

Australians are set to have their biggest presence yet in the world's premier basketball league this season, writes James Dampney for the Australian Associated Press.

It will take a mighty effort for any Australian to match or surpass the achievements and notoriety Luc Longley garnered in his NBA career, which yielded three championships with Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

But there are four Aussies suiting up this season, led by Milwaukee centre Andrew Bogut, and all four are relatively young, highly talented prospects who have a chance to make their mark.

Along with Bogut, Minnesota's Nathan Jawai is ready for his sophomore season, rookie Patty Mills has been signed by Portland and Dave Andersen finally gets his opportunity in the NBA seven years after he was drafted.

Bogut, Jawai and Mills are in their early 20s and still some way from reaching their peak, while 29-year-old Andersen is in his prime and will try to help Houston overcome the injury-enforced absence of superstar centre Yao Ming.

Bogut, who will be in the spotlight this season as he returns from a stress fracture in his back, is thrilled to have some more compatriots alongside him in the league known as 'The Show'.

"I think it's good for the game back home," Bogut told AAP from Milwaukee.

"Slow and steady. I hope to have double figures from Australia one day, that would be awesome."

All teams will be chasing Kobe Bryant's defending champion LA Lakers this season, while Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio and Orlando have re-tooled and are also tipped to contend for the title.

While it is unlikely any of the Australians will feature in championship calculations this season, they should all get an opportunity to shine with their respective teams.

Jawai has had a stop-start career to date but could have found a home in Minnesota.

Drafted by Indiana and immediately shipped to Toronto last year, the former Cairns Taipans star was then traded to Dallas in the off-season before being dealt to the Timberwolves a week before the start of the 2009-10 campaign.

With only six NBA games under his belt so far, Jawai should add considerably to that total this year.

The Blazers showed plenty of faith to give Mills a two-year contract earlier this month, even though he is yet to return to the court.

A second round draft pick this year, the lightning quick point guard faced an uphill battle to make the Portland team after breaking his foot on the opening day of training camp.

But the Blazers have seen enough to give Mills the last spot on their roster and he is likely to spend time in the secondary Development League as he regains form.

Mills showed what he can do in two stand-out performances against the United States team before and during the Beijing Olympics.

Portland coach Nate McMillan was an assistant on that American team.

Andersen has been one of the better big men in Europe throughout this decade and will finally play in the NBA after he was drafted in the second round by Atlanta back in 2002.

All four Australians are almost certain to be part of the Boomers side for next year's world titles in Turkey and will spend the next 12 months in the sport's best training ground.

The more Australians that can make it to the NBA, the better it will be for the national program as the Boomers continue to chase that elusive first medal in major international competitions.

"Not only for next year's world championships but in the future too," Bogut said.

"The more the merrier. The more Aussies in the NBA the better players we will have playing for the Boomers.

"National teams will be much harder to make and the competition will be healthy."

Andersen will be in action on opening day, with his Rockets heading to Portland to take on the Blazers.

Jawai's Timberwolves host New Jersey in their season-opener on Thursday, while Bogut's Bucks get their campaign underway in Philadelphia on Saturday.

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Team: Milwaukee Bucks.

NBA Games: 262.

Height: 213cm.

Weight: 118kg.

Draft history: Selected No.1 overall by Milwaukee, 2005.


Age: 23.

Team: Minnesota Timberwolves.

NBA Games: 6.

Height: 208cm.

Weight: 127kg.

Draft history: Selected No.41 overall by Indiana, 2008.


Age: 21.

Team: Portland Trailblazers.

NBA Games: 0.

Height: 183cm.

Weight: 84kg.

Draft history: Drafted No.55 overall by Portland, 2009.


Age: 29.

Team: Houston Rockets.

NBA Games: 0.

Height: 211cm.

Weight: 111kg.

Draft history: Drafted No.37 overall by Atlanta, 2002.

NBA Championship betting
(source: SportsTAB)

$3.25 Los Angeles Lakers
$4.50 Cleveland Cavaliers
$5 Boston Celtics
$9 San Antonio Spurs
$21 Portland Trailblazers
$67 Houston Rockets
$251 Milwaukee Bucks
$251 Minnesota Timberwolves

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic in Spain, Olympic Captain Matt Nielsen went head to head with his Beijing team mate Joe Ingles, with Nielsen coming off second best in the encounter but winning the match 82-65.

Ingles drove right on Nielsen, drew contact and finished a bank shot for the front end of a three-point play. Watch the video below to see if he made the foul shot...

Ingles is averaging 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2 assists across his first four games in the ACB with his Granada team at 2 wins and 2 losses. Visit his ACB player page >>>

Nielsen’s Valencia team is in fifth (of 18) teams in the ACB with the Penrith product averaging 8.5 points, 5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. Visit his ACB player page >>>