Phillin' The Lane: Andersen on high

Phillin' The Lane: Andersen on high

Basketball Australia's US correspondent Phil Moskowitz wraps another week of Aussies in action in the United States.

Frankston’s finest David Andersen registered his best numbers in the NBA this week but all is not rosy with Aussies stateside as Andrew Bogut has run afoul with the referees.

In Houston’s 111-101 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Andersen grabbed nine rebounds to eclipse his previous high of eight, registered on November 30th against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Andersen also scored 17 points in the match, just two shy of his career high of 19.

Andersen and the Rockets went 3-2 in this week’s action with the centre posting an average of 10.2 points at 48.7 per cent (20-from-41) with 4.2 rebounds. Houston is looking good in the West with a 16 win, 11 loss record that puts them in fifth place in the 15-team Western Conference.

Also tying an NBA career high in rebounding this week was Minnesota’s Nathan Jawai, with Big Nate registering seven total rebounds and nine points in a Timberwolves home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Nine points in that game was Jawai’s highest output since a 10 point performance on November 13th, with the return of former UCLA forward Kevin Love from injury severely impacting Nate’s minutes.

Minnesota continues to struggle in last place of the Western Conference with a 5 win, 23 loss record, but is looking more competitive with each passing game.

Following up a season-high 27 point performance against Portland, Andrew Bogut and the Milwaukee Bucks had a disappointing week picking up three losses in three games.

Bogut averaged 11.7 points shooting just 32.5 per cent from the field, but did average a solid 11 rebounds per game.

Bogut has been averaging over 30 minutes per game but was limited to only 17 in the Bucks’ loss to Lebron’s Cavaliers in Cleveland. Bogut was matched up against Shaquille O’Neal and was outplaying the big man until he registered his second foul within the first six minutes of the game.

In those first six minutes Bogut posted four points, three rebounds, and two blocks. He was on pace to have an outstanding night in the paint against a tough veteran, but the early fouls hurt him - and the Bucks.

Bogut returned to action halfway through the second quarter, but picked up his third foul immediately upon re-entry, forcing him back to the bench until the second half.

In six games this season (of 19 total played, or on 32 per cent of occasions), Bogut has either fouled out (6 fouls) or finished with five fouls. In his past five games he has registered 5, 6, 5, 5, and 4 fouls.

The Bucks simply can not duplicate Bogut’s productivity and - if they want to win games - need Bogut to stay on the court and out of early foul trouble.

So it is Bogues with a problem or is it the referees giving him no love? Examine the blocking foul called on Bogut at the end of the extra period in the Bucks’ loss to the Lakers, when Kobe Bryant (first) travelled and (second) slammed into Bogut’s chest and you may have your answer. Unjustly, the big man gets no love from the refs.

Skipping to the West Coast, Patty Mills is continuing to work his way back to the court. Mills returned to training last week and, as long as there are no setbacks, is expected to start full contact drills at the end of this week.

In NCAA action, Ater Majok made his college debut on Monday for the #14 ranked UConn Huskies.

After a tumultuous journey from Sudan to Egypt, then Australia to Connecticut, Majok’s debut came against the University of Central Florida. He was in the starting lineup for the Huskies and jumped for the opening tip-off.

“It wasn’t until I heard the introductions and was in the first jump ball that I realised I was here,” Majok said after the game.

Majok played 16 uninspiring minutes and registered his first point (and only point of the match) on a foul shot toward the end of the first half. He finished with three rebounds.

UConn Coach Jim Calhoun said that he will ease Majok into game-shape and wants to make sure that he is ready for the start of the Big East Conference games, the first of which is on December 30 against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

In other NCAA action, Matthew Dellavedova led the St. Mary’s Gaels (9-1) to their seventh straight victory. In the Gaels’ two games Delly averaged 9 points, 2.5 rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Ten games into the season, Dellavedova is a crucial piece of the St. Mary’s team. He currently ranks second on the team in most categories including average minutes played (33.3), total points (136), assists (33), and steals (12).

St. Mary’s only loss so far this season came at the hands of Aussie A.J. Ogilvy and the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Vanderbilt only had one game this week, against the Tennessee State Tigers. Ogilvy had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting with six rebounds, one assist, and one block.

Even with the holiday period upon us in the Unites States (with a big dump of snow across the Atlantic North East), the Australians in the US will have a full plate of games.

Andersen and the Rockets will play four games, and Bogut and Jawai each have three. Dellavedova and Ogilvy each have a single game for their colleges; while Majok and the Huskies have two.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK:

Bogut – watch his foul count. Low fouls = big minutes = Bogut stars = Bucks win.

Andersen – has a tough matchup against Dwight Howard’s Orlando Magic, but very favorable ones against the Los Angeles Clippers and the horrendous New Jersey Nets.
 
Jawai – also gets to play against the NBA’s bottom of the barrel Nets, so may get extended minutes. The Nets have a good low post man in Brook Lopez, but he has very little in the way of supporting cast.

Majok – He is new to a very successful program and will take his lumps at first. Hall of Fame coach Calhoun has the confidence to put him in the starting lineup, so expect significant improvement from the 6’ 10” Husky in the coming weeks.

 

By Phil Moscowitz for Basketball Australia