With the holiday season upon us there was no slowing down for the Australians in the US this past week. David Andersen, Andrew Bogut, and Ater Majok all posted career highs.
Andersen averaged 5.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in the Houston Rockets’ four games (2-2). He posted a career high three assists against the New Jersey Nets and three steals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Sure, the box score shows the numbers, but what it doesn’t show is Andersen’s gritty performances coming off the bench for the Rockets.
Andersen was an integral part of the Rockets’ thrilling 98-93 win over the Nets at the I-Zod Centre in New Jersey.
After playing seven minutes in the second quarter, Andersen returned to action in the fourth where he posted five points, four rebounds, and two assists. The box score doesn’t tell you that Andersen had a hand in four of the five lead changes in the final quarter.
With 10:14 remaining in the game, Andersen’s bucket put the Rockets ahead 73-71; at the 9:54 and 7:31 marks, Andersen passed to Carl Landry who broke ties of 73-73 and 79-79; lastly, with 6:55 remaining in the game Andersen’s three pointer broke a 79-79 tie.
After the game, Phillin’ The Lane got a chance to sit down with the seven-foot Victorian and ask if he has adjusted to his role off the bench for Houston.
“Yeah, I pretty much know when I am getting in and what guys I’m going in for. [The guys] all know me pretty good and they know what I can do, but I surprise them sometimes throwing down a dunk once in awhile or something like that. [We have] a good bunch of guys and everyone gets along pretty well; it’s been fun.”
According to Andersen, his team has exceeded expectations so far. They find themselves only four games behind the Dallas Mavericks in the Southwest Division, and in seventh place overall in the Western Conference.
“Obviously everyone didn’t really think we would do too much with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady down. I think with the good bunch of guys and the good team chemistry we have that we’re doing very well. We’ve been surprising some teams and have been getting our stuff together. Hopefully we can make a good run and make the playoffs.”
Also hoping to land a spot in the playoffs is Bogut’s Milwaukee Bucks who find themselves in seventh place in the Eastern Conference despite their 12-win 16-loss record – a record which is slipping fast.
In the month of December the Bucks are a rough 3-9. However, the one bright spot has been Bogut, having arguably the best year of his career.
In the Bucks’ three games this week Bogut averaged 18.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
In their lone win this week against the Indiana Pacers, Bogut netted a career high 31 points (14-for-19) and grabbed a season high 18 rebounds.
Nathan Jawai has continued to play sparingly off the bench for the Timberwolves, but his performance this week verse All-Star hopeful Brooke Lopez of the Nets was stellar.
Although he only logged seven minutes, Big Nate shut down Lopez. Lopez has averaged 19 points per game, but had zero while Jawai was in. After Lopez got taken out of the game, you could see that he was physically frustrated on the bench.
Jawai not only shut out Lopez, but also added four rebounds, two points, and one assist in the matchup.
Phillin’ The Lane caught up with Big Nate after the game and he had a message he wanted passed along to everyone in his homeland:
“I want to say hi and happy holidays to all of my family and friends from back home. I also want to wish everyone in the NBL luck in what is a tough and very tight competition, especially my Cairns Taipans.”
Stepping from the pros to the students, in UConn’s final two games before the tip-off of the Big East schedule Ater Majok continued his introduction to the NCAA by posting career highs in minutes played (18) and points (5) verse Maine; as well as rebounds (6) and blocks (3) verse Iona. In both games the Huskies came away victorious.
This holiday week wasn’t all full of cheer for Matthew Dellavedova and the St. Mary’s Gaels who saw their eight-game win streak end at the hands of the Trojans of USC.
Despite the loss the Gaels are still 11-2 and in first place in the West Coast Conference.
Delly averaged 12 points, 4.6 assists, and 3 rebounds in a week where the Australian guard played all but a combined three minutes in St. Mary’s games. Dellavedova’s standout performance this week came against North Eastern where he racked up 17 points while going 4-for-6 from behind the arc.
Coming up this week Jawai and the Timberwolves have four games, Andersen and the Rockets have three, and Bogut and the Bucks have two. In NCAA action, AJ Ogilvy and the Vanderbilt Commodores have three games, and Dellavedova and Majok each have two.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:
- Bogut nets a career high 31 points and a season high 18 rebounds vs the Pacers
- Andersen plays an integral part in four lead changes in the Rockets’ win over the Nets.
- Majok gets final tune-up before Big East action
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
- Bogut v Dwight Howard when the Bucks visit the Orlando Magic.
- The Timberwolves have four games in five days. Kevin Love and Al Jefferson will need frequent breaks in order to make it through this stretch of games so look for Jawai to log more minutes then he has recently.
- In his last two games Dellavedova has shot just 4-for-20 from the field. The Gaels have two games against teams whose combined record is 5-18, expect Delly to get back on track.
- Majok starts his Big East Conference games. In his second game this week he will go up against the 2008 Big East Player of the Year Luke Harangody. It’s time for the big man to step up in the Big East spotlight.