In case it wasn’t obvious, Josh Giddey loves playing Madison Square Garden.
Oklahoma City Thunder beat writer Brandon Rahbar described it as a ‘coming out party’ for the Aussie in his rookie season, when Giddey netted a 28-point triple-double in a win in overtime against the Knicks.
Now he has done it again.
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Monday November 14
monday november 14
Giddey is silky smooth in 2OT loss to Bucks! | 00:59
Giddey lit up the Garden in a comfortable 145-135 win in the early hours of Monday morning (AEDT), scoring 24 points to go with 12 assists and 10 rebounds — his fifth career triple-double.
Along with him, Giddey also joined NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain as the only other player in league history to record triple-doubles in his first two games at the Garden.
Told by a reporter after the game of his impressive achievement, the Aussie couldn’t help but smile, but it’s clear Giddey’s priority is with the team.
“Anytime you can be mentioned in the names of greats like that, it’s special,” he said.
“But basketball is a team game, so if those things contribute to winning and helping my guys around me be better, then it’s worth it.”
Speaking after last year’s deciding game against the Knicks, Giddey explained how he’s been considering playing at the Garden since being drafted by the Thunder.
He once again admitted his excitement to perform at the iconic venue.
“We come here once a year, so you have to have fun while you’re here,” Giddey said.
“Fortunately, in my time, we’ve had two wins so far, so so far so good.
“It’s a fun place to play – obviously the most famous arena in the world – I always have this arena circled on my calendar and can’t wait to come back next year.”
There was late drama, however, with Giddey’s initial rebound to claim the triple-double before the Aussie grabbed another board with 14 seconds left.
It also marked a season-best performance from the 20-year-old, who shot 10 of 14 from the field (71%) with two triples.
After a troubled start to the season hampered by an ankle setback, Giddey is now starting to roll, averaging 19 points, 11.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists in his last three games.
Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said Giddey found his rhythm late in Game 2 with Milwaukee thanks to his offensive rebounds.
The young gun said he was at his best when he was “going down” and using his height.
“The floaters haven’t come down for me this year, so I’m just trying to get into the paint, stay confident with my shot and read what the defense is giving me,” Giddey said.
“I’ve started to realize that I’m usually a bit bigger than a lot of these guys guarding me, so I try to finish above them and be stronger on the ball.
“Things that I worked on in training and tried to emulate that in a game, but it was good there.”
Giddey’s teammate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also put on a show in the win, finishing with 37 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three steals as he continued his superb start to the season.
And so the duo combined for an epic 61 points, 20 assists and 15 rebounds.
While there were question marks over the pair’s fit in the backcourt, Giddey hopes people can now see just how effective the two can be now and in the future.
“It’s great to play with him,” Giddey said.
“I think our chemistry will continue to develop and hopefully we can be one hell of a backcourt for a long time.”
OKC won its second straight game after ending a four-game losing streak against the Raptors over the weekend to now sit 6-7 on aggregate.
Despite the dazzling individual play of Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey, a team-first mentality is clearly helping this rebuilding team exceed expectations.
“That’s the best thing about our team – we have such a selfless, willing group that buys into what we do as a team,” Giddey said.
“Nobody goes into their own business trying to do it themselves.
“We have five guys out of four, the guys on the bench are active and talking and the coaching staff is engaged.
“It runs through the whole band…we’re always proud and preach to do it with five guys.
“The more we can do this and get everyone involved and feel good, hopefully the more wins that could lead to.”