The two hottest Australian basketballers in the world went head-to-head for the first time on Monday morning.
The NBA’s mouth-watering battle of Aussie superstars ended with Boomers captain Patty Mills setting a new scoring record as he took Josh Giddey to school in a comprehensive Brooklyn Nets win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Giddey, 19, has endeared himself to American basketball pundits since OKC selected him with pick six of the 2021 NBA draft, already coming within a whisker of breaking the record for youngest player in league history to record a triple-double.
Meanwhile, 2014 NBA champion Mills, who joined the Nets this season after a decade with the San Antonio Spurs, has been lighting it up with his formidable shot accuracy from deep.
The Aussie superstar poured in nine three-pointers, the most ever scored by a Nets player starting on the bench, in his mammoth haul of 29 points as Brooklyn cruised to a 120-96 win.
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Mills credited the side’s “hunger mentality” for its latest win.
“We learned a lot on this road trip,” Mills said after the game.
“For us to be able to understand each other more, to get a number of game reps under our belt, to work out those little kinks along the way. I think that showed a lot of fight.
“It’s one step at a time, we just want to get better each game.”
Mills started from the bench but coach Steve Nash took a gamble and pumped the veteran’s minutes up despite his quiet stretch of form on the road.
It paid off in a big way — Mills was in just about everything in his first meeting with the Aussie teen sensation.
Mills beat the buzzer to extend the Nets’ lead at the first change and was once again clinical from deep, shooting with a staggering 75 per cent accuracy (9/12) outside the arc.
Giddey, however, couldn’t inject himself into the contest in the final quarter and finished on the bench with only 20 per cent accuracy (2/10) from the field to his name.
The Nets juggernaut is now 10-4 for the season and 5-1 on its most recent road trip, which ended with the win over the Thunder.
Giddey now has two months to plot his revenge on Mills and co.
The Thunder and the Nets meet once more in the regular season, on Friday January 14.