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Josh Giddey shines in preseason debut for Oklahoma City Thunder


Australia’s newest NBA star had a strong start to the pre-season, padding the stat sheet nicely despite his team’s loss.

Josh Giddey, who was picked sixth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder, led his new team with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting, adding seven rebounds and three assists in a 113-97 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

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The 18-year-old Victorian spent last season in the NBL with the Adelaide 36ers, electing to forego the college basketball system in the USA.

Giddey was named NBL Rookie of the Year last season and will make more than $5 million in his first year in the league, having secured a place in the top 10 picks.

He showed no signs of any rust despite an injury during NBA Summer League.

Hornets rookie James Bouknight scored 20 points while Giddey’s fellow NBL almunus Lamelo Ball had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Terry Rozier’s pull-up jumper with 5:21 left in the first quarter sparked a 20-7 Hornets spurt for a 34-18 lead at the end of one.

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Charlotte’s Kelly Oubre Jr left in the third quarter with a right lower leg strain and didn’t return. Coach James Borrego said the injury wasn’t serious and said the forward would be day to day.

Elsewhere, Australian Jock Landale came off the bench for the Spurs with a nice showing, grabbing eight points along with six rebounds and three assists.

The NBA season proper begins in a fortnight.

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