Dallas coach Jason Kidd has done his best to secure Josh Green’s services, even if it comes at a premium, as the Australian’s breakout season continued against Phoenix.
Green had 14 points in the first half and was six-from-six from the field before a three-point attempt bounced off the rim late in the fourth quarter of their 130-111 win.
He added a stack of highlights to his breakout season with 16 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals, logging a team-high 31 minutes and 26-point differential.
And it continued his rock solid assistance of appreciative superstar teammate Luka Doncic (33 points, eight assists and six rebounds).
“Not just this game; he’s been playing really, really good,” Doncic said of the Sydney-born 22-year-old who has seized his opportunities in his third NBA season.
“Actually, amazing for us. … He’s showing that he can really play and he’s really helping us.”
“The truth is the kid is really good and if he keeps working, he’s going to get paid a lot of money,” Kidd said of Green, who was a bit-part piece of the Boomers’ run to Olympic bronze last year.
“The kid has all the talents to be a superstar … hopefully he doesn’t leave.”
The Suns (16-8) are now just one win clear of Dyson Daniels’ New Orleans and Memphis in the west, while the Mavs improved to 12-11.
Doncic sat the entire fourth quarter along with Suns All-Star Devin Booker while Chris Paul remained out and Australian Jock Landale was quiet in just six minutes of action.
Fellow Australian Josh Giddey was busy though, scoring 12 of his 17 points in the final period as Oklahoma City overcame a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to beat the Atlanta Hawks 121-114.
In winning their third straight, Oklahoma City (11-13) have outscored their last three opponents 106-68 in the fourth quarter.
Giddey’s three-point play early in the fourth made it 91-90 for the Thunder’s first lead since late in the first stanza and they never trailed again.
Kawhi Leonard celebrated his return from an ankle sprain by hitting the game-winner for Los Angeles against Charlotte.
The five-time All-Star had 16 points, including a long-range jumper with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift the Clippers to a 119-117 victory.
“I don’t think anybody loves playing this game more than me,” Leonard said.
“It gives me joy when I’m able to play. And it was great that I was able to make that shot.”
Paul George also came back from a strained hamstring to score 19 points along with seven assists, helping the Clippers snap a two-game losing streak.