Phillin' the Lane: Double no trouble for Bogut

Phillin' the Lane: Double no trouble for Bogut

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

“Coach has been really trying to put an emphasis on me being more consistent. It’s something that was stressed in the offseason and in meetings; that they want more outta me,” Andrew Bogut told PTL last week.

Since that conversation Bogues has played the most consistent basketball of the season -- and possibly his career.  

He has recorded four straight double-double performances (double digit returns in points and rebounds) and even though his team has continued its struggles with a 1-and-3 week, Bogut has continued to post some of the best numbers of his five NBA seasons.

Through four games Bogut has averaged 12 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2 blocks.

For the season he is averaging 15 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, which ranks him eighth and fifth respectively among all centres in the NBA.

Milwaukee has four games this week; with two of the matchups seeing Bogut catch up with some fellow Australians.

The Bucks travelled to Texas to face David Andersen and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, with Bogut registering a monster 18 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 blocked shots in over 44 minutes on court.

Andersen meanwhile had 6 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists in 8:32 on court, but it was Andersen’s Rockets getting the victory (and bragging rights between the two Aussies) in overtime, 101-98.

The loss keeps the Bucks outside the playoff eight, just short of the half way point in the season, two and a half games behind Chicago in the eighth spot. Houston improved to 23 wins and 18 losses, good enough for seventh spot in the tight Western Conference playoff race.

Bogut’s Bucks will host Nathan Jawai and the Minnesota Timberwolves later in the week.

This past week Big Nate experienced a boost in his playing time and he will be looking forward to Minnesota’s four game week with a chance to continue with his extended minutes.

After seeing a combined 19 minutes in the Timberwolves’ previous three games, Nate surpassed that mark in a single game this week logging 22 minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Nate averaged 14.7 minutes over the last three games and had a pair of very strong performances.

Against the Denver Nuggets he recorded eight points, with one rebound and one steal. In the Timberwolves’ 135-110 loss to the Grizzlies, Big Nate had five points, snagged six rebounds, dished out four assists, and blocked two shots.

Also seeing a significant increase in playing time was Patty Mills, however it was not on the NBA hardwood, but rather in the NBA D-League with the Idaho Stampede.

Mills was reassigned to the Development League earlier this week after seeing only five minutes of total court time across five NBA games.

Mills relished the chance to get back on the floor and exploded for 31 points (10-for-22) in his second game for the Stampede on January 16th after posting 16 (6-for-18) a night earlier.

In four D-League games for the Stampede, Mills is averaging 26.8 points, 5.3 assists, and 1.5 steals.  

Also continuing his string of strong performances is AJ Ogilvy for the Vanderbilt Commodores.

The Commodores won both of their conference games this week against Alabama (65-64) and South Carolina (89-79), and Ogilvy has been a huge part of their 3-and-0 South Eastern Conference start.

Across three games Ogilvy is averaging 19.7 points and 9.3 rebounds while shooting 71.4 percent (25-for-35) from the foul line.

As long as Ogilvy continues to get his defenders in foul trouble, Vanderbilt will be a force to be reckoned with in the SEC.

In other NCAA conference action, Matthew Dellavedova and the St. Mary’s Gaels lost their first WCC conference game to a tough Gonzaga Bulldogs squad, 89-82.

No stranger to the big stage, Delly had one of the biggest games of his young career while in the national spotlight. In a game that was nationally broadcast on ESPN in America and Australia, he posted a career high 23 points (including 4-of-4 from downtown), dished out seven assists, and stole the ball away from the ‘Zags twice.

After a disappointing loss to then ranked #14 Gonzaga, the Gaels bounced back to post a 77-72 win over Portland to move to 3-and-1 in WCC play and 16-and-3 overall.

Also enjoying a strong conference performance was Ater Majok, who has been improving each game and against a very physical (and undefeated) Pittsburg side played very strongly on the low post.

Majok was aggressive, but not overly aggressive like he had been in past games. He went after the ball instead of waiting for it to come to him; he attempted to make plays happen instead of waiting for them to happen.

Majok regularly cut to the top of the key to set pick-and-rolls for his guards. Even though they didn’t dish it to Majok, it allowed them to drive the lane and get to the foul line.

In the game against Pitt, Majok had four points, two blocks, one rebound, and one steal.

While Majok’s game is getting better, UConn as a team is sinking. Their loss to Pitt dropped them to 2-and-3 in Conference play and four days later they lost again to a struggling Michigan team.

The Huskies schedule doesn’t ease up in the coming weeks, and if they want to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive – or even Big East Tournament hopes at this point - they need to get back on track this week when they host St. Johns.


THE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED:

  • Vanderbilt vs Alabama, 2:16 remaining in the 2nd half and Vandy down 62-61: Ogilvy misses two free throws that would’ve tied or put the Commodores ahead. Vandy goes on to win.

  • Bucks vs Jazz, 5:56 remaining in the 4th: Bogut registers fourth consecutive double-double game by sinking a six-foot jumper.

  • Minnesota vs Houston, 0:00 remaining in 3rd OT: Andersen and the Rockets get the best of Jawai and the Timberwolves in a thrilling 120-114 three-overtime win.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

  • How far can Bogut extend his double-double streak?

  • Bogut goes up against Aussies Andersen and Jawai

  • Can UConn rebound from its rough stretch of late against St. Johns?

  • Ogilvy and Dellavedova are on fire in Conference games, look for that to continue when Vanderbilt faces Auburn (9-9) and St. Mary’s faces San Diego (8-12)

By Phil Moskowitz for Basketball Australia