The New Year is a time in which we reflect upon the past twelve months and also look forward to the year that lies ahead. There are decisions that worked out and others that didn’t quite go as planned, but those are in the past now and it’s a new year full of hope for what could be.
For the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, they got a glimpse into their future less then 24 hours after the New Year’s Ball had dropped when Patty Mills was nearly unstoppable in his first on court action since rehabbing from a broken bone in his foot.
Mills lit up the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League for 38 points (13-for-25) on January 1st, and again for 22 points (8-for-12) on January 3rd.
He shot an astounding 73.3 per cent (11-for-15) from 3-point range in the two games and added averages of 7.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in his 34 minutes per game while leading the Idaho Stampede to back-to-back wins.
With time ticking down in the second game and the Stampede trailing 108-107, Mills grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the put-back with 1.2 seconds remaining to edge out the Bighorns 109-108.
As a result, the indigenous guard has been called up to the NBA and will join the Trailblazers when they face the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday afternoon.
With the ‘Blazers bench depleted due to injury and sickness, don’t be surprised to see Mills log his first minutes in the NBA.
Also looking to log more minutes in the New Year are David Andersen and Nathan Jawai, who have been playing sparingly off the benches for the Rockets and Timberwolves.
Andersen averaged 13.3 min, 5.3 points, and 2.7 rebounds in Houston’s three games this week.
Andersen has been effective when on court and is looking forward to the new year and staying healthy during the long NBA season.
“For me the most important thing is to keep healthy. I’ve realized over the years that injuries and stuff give you big setbacks. If you can keep your body right and keep healthy you can live a long career and play a lot of basketball, which is what I want to do,” Andersen told PTL.
When asked about his goals for the new year Andersen added, “It’s just a matter of working on everything, you know. Trying to rebound more, trying to log more minutes, and just trying to do what I have to do. It’s a matter of constantly improving and keeping healthy.”
As for Jawai, he played in three of Minnesota’s four games. All four of which were losses, and Big Nate averaged just 8.3 min per game.
However, against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic he had his most productive game in three weeks.
Nate had four points (2-for-5), 6 rebounds, and 2 assists in his 14 minutes on the court. He would have logged even more court time but he picked up five (of the allowed six) fouls.
While Jawai and Andersen were coming off the bench, Andrew Bogut was sent to the bench.
Bogut rode the pine alongside fellow Olympian Michael Redd for the entire second half of Milwaukee’s 94-84 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.
In the first half of the game, Bogut shot 1-for-6 from the field against a makeshift Bobcats lineup and didn’t do much in stopping them defensively.
Bucks coach Scott Skiles said he had debated shaking up the lineup before the game but decided against it until his team came out flat.
"It's not so much producing, it's body language and the way we look out there," Skiles said after the game. "The bottom line is this is the NBA. You have to produce. It's what pro sports are. And we need more consistent production out of our key players."
Bogut responded well to the benching by recording two double-doubles in the Bucks’ last two games. Against the Magic he shot 6-for-15 from the field for 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds; and against the Oklahoma City Thunder Bogues registered 23 points (9-for-17) and 15 rebounds.
Also bouncing back from last week’s poor shooting performance was St. Mary’s guard Mathew Dellavedova.
After shooting just 20 per cent (4-for-20) last week Delly ramped it up this week with a combined 10-for-18 field goals and a blistering 8-for-11 from behind the arc. Delly averaged 15 points, three assists, and three rebounds in the Gaels’ two victories.
The Vanderbilt Commodores and AJ Ogilvy were also 2-0 this week, with Ogilvy playing a decisive role in the victories.
Ogilvy averaged 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2.5 blocks across two games. He connected on 9-of-18 shots from the field and converted 11-of-13 chances from the charity stripe.
On the other hand, what looked like a promising week for Ater Majok turned out to be less than impressive.
Majok did play a season high 20 minutes in UConn’s thrilling 71-69 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats; however, it was followed up by just four minutes in the Huskies’ 82-70 win over the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.
During the Cincinnati game, Majok looked over-matched against a physical Bearcats squad. He was too aggressive at times by picking up fouls as soon as he returned from the bench, and too timid at others when he regularly got boxed out under the boards and pushed out of position.
It is all part of Majok’s learning curve and the Big East Conference games are a step up in intensity, athleticism and skill. Coach Calhoun has been in total communication with Ater, pulling Majok aside and teaching him throughout the course of a game.
Majok has been getting a crash course in NCAA Division 1 Basketball. With his physical gifts and the help of Hall of Fame coaching we should expect him to have a big impact in upcoming Husky games.
THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:
- Stampede vs Bighorns January 1st, 9:21 remaining in the 1st, Patty Mills steps on the court for the first time since breaking a bone in his foot.
- Stampede vs Bighorns January 3rd, :02 remaining in the 4th, Patty Mills rebounds and hits game winning shot.
- Bucks vs Bobcats, Bogut benched at halftime
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
- Bogut vs New Jersey - 21 points and 11 rebounds in last meeting, but New Jersey was without 7-footer (and ex-Bogut teammate) Yi Jianlian
- Andersen and Bogut and Mills(!) taking on Kobe and the Lakers
- Trailblazers short bench for 4 games = possible minutes for Mills
- Dellavedova and Ogilvy start WCC and SEC conference play