Team Australia enjoys best performance from Josh Giddey to advance

Josh Giddey #3 of Australia (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of Australia (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /

Motivated to advance to the second round of the FIBA World Cup, Josh Giddey carried the Australian national team to a victory over hosts Japan, 109-89, in a pretty dominant fashion.

Giddey showcased every aspect of his game, making him one of the pillars of the OKC Thunder’s rebuild. He was effective in his drives, sharp on his passes, and on-point with his shooting — contrary to how he performed in the past few games.

The OKC Thunder got a glimpse of the future with Josh Giddey playing his best game at the FIBA World Cup.

Josh Giddey scored 26 points, 11 assists, and five rebounds on superb efficiency. The 20-year-old shot 10-for-18 from the field, including drilling two of his five attempts from the three-point range.

The OKC Thunder’s young ace controlled the game and was terrific in dictating the pace and tempo of a matchup that required his entire team to play winning basketball as their tournament hopes were on the line.

Giddey’s impressive showing resonated throughout the Australian squad as big man Xavier Cooks fed off the 6-foot-8 guard’s brilliance with his best game of the World Cup so far, posting 24 points and 16 rebounds.

Spacing also helped Giddey as Australia’s head coach opted to start Josh Green, a better-regarded 3-and-D player, in place of Matisse Thybulle. Green finished with 15 points on two threes, one coming off Giddey’s assist.

Patty Mills had 11 points and nine assists but shot 4-for-13 from the field. With Mills ‘ off night, Australia’s well-balanced efforts from other players proved pivotal.

Joshua Hawkinson led Japan with 33 points on an efficient 13-for-16 field-goal clip, while recently signed Phoenix Sun Yuta Watanabe added 24 points on three trifectas in a losing effort.

Australia advances to the second round of the World Cup, where they will be deployed in the Group K and play Luka Doncic’s Slovenia and Georgia as the road to the quarterfinals becomes tougher.

This game highlights just how good the 20-year-old can be as he continues to progress. Translating his ability to dominate smaller guards, improving as a scoring threat and help defender, and earning more trips to the charity stripe all help him lift his NBA game. Those developments we have seen at the FIBA World Cup thus far should encourage OKC Thunder fans about the team’s future.

OKC Thunder players react to Josh Giddey's dunk. dark. Next