Nervous Humphries makes NBA debut
DREAM fulfilled! Aussie big man Isaac Humphries got his first taste of NBA action Wednesday (AEST) when he suited up for the Atlanta Hawks in a 111-117 loss to compatriot Patty Mills and the San Antonio Spurs.
The 21-year-old wasn't gun-shy in his debut, launching nine shots in just 18 minutes - although the nerves might have affected his radar, with only two finding the bottom of the net.
Humphries' first NBA points came from an offensive rebound, the 7'0" monster showing off the precise footwork and deft touch around the ring that caught the eye of NBA scouts.
The 2018 NBL Rookie of the Year finished his first NBA outing with four points, five rebounds and a steal, but missed all three of his three-point attempts.
Kent Bazemore paced the Hawks with 26 points off the bench, while Alex Len had 21.
Mills drained four three-pointers - one of those over the outstretched arm of Humphries - on his way to 14 points off the bench as star DeMar DeRozan had 29, guard Derrick White shot a remarkable 10-12 from the field for 23 points and big man LaMarcus Aldridge had a 16-point, 11-rebound double double.
Humphries was signed by the Hawks for the rest of the season and will next face fellow Aussies Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden in a date with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Humphries said before the game that, after his G-League season with the Erie BayHawks had concluded, he was on his way home to Australia when Atlanta came calling with a contract.
"I was obviously really excited," he said.
"I was on my way home actually to Australia, so when I got the call it was a big surprise.
"Sitting in my apartment waiting to get picked up to go to the airport with my suitcases.
"I was kind of shocked, didn't really know how to react."
WESTBROOK'S HISTORIC LINE
Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook joined legendary centre Wilt Chamberlain as one of only two players in NBA history to record a 20-20-20 statline.
Westbrook poured in 20 points to go with 20 rebounds and 21 assists in a 119-103 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Chamberlain's mark was set 51 years ago when he had 22 points, 25 rebounds and 21 assists in a game in 1968.
While Westbrook continued his penchant for horrible shooting - just 8-23 from the field and 2-9 from deep - his 31st triple double of 2018-19 left him just three assists shy of averaging a triple double for the third straight season.
He also became just the third man to record eight games with 15-15-15, joining Chamberlain (also eight) and Oscar Robertson (14).
WARRIORS POUND NUGGETS
Western Conference topping Golden State showed why it is the prohibitive title favourite, smashing the second-placed Denver Nuggets 116-102.
Superstar Kevin Durant scorched the Nuggets in the first half, pouring in 21 points, before being thrown out of the game early in the third quarter after he became furious at a non-foul call on an airballed three-point attempt.
Those were his 14th and 15th technicals, meaning he is one away from an automatic suspension - which could pose a problem come playoff time.
DeMarcus Cousins monstered the Nuggets big men, bustling his way to a Warriors' career-high 28 points to go with 12 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
Guard Jamal Murray led seven Nuggets in double digits with 17.
The Warriors improved to 53-24 on the season, giving them a two-game buffer - and tiebreaker - lead over the Nuggets (51-26) at the top of the conference with five games left.