Joe Ingles couldn’t keep the smile off his face as the Australian’s 14 first-half points put the Utah Jazz clear in a comfortable defeat of Houston that kept them unbeaten after four NBA games.
The Boomers favourite, who registered 1000 career NBA triples earlier this week, continued his fine start to the season in a 122-91 defeat of the Rockets on the road.
Losses to Chicago and Golden State on the same day have left the Jazz as the only unbeaten team this season.
In the second quarter Ingles collected a rebound off a missed lay-up, smiling as he took the ball down the court before pulling up to nail one of his four three-pointers and grinning towards the bench.
He was chuckling again when teammate Eric Paschall raised his arms to unintentionally obscure another successful, wide-open three point shot.
One of four reserves to score more than 10 points, Ingles said last year’s Western Conference heavyweights, who were upset in the conference semi-finals, hadn’t missed a beat.
“Every night we feel like we can match it with everyone, the starters and bench,” Ingles said of his side’s depth.
“We’ve been together a long time and getting Hassan (Whiteside) and Eric involved now … overall it was a good game and how we want to play.”
The Warriors let a 17-point first quarter lead slip, Steph Curry scoring 36 points but Ja Morant’s (30 points, seven rebounds, five assists, four steals) Grizzlies prevailed 104-101 in overtime.
Chicago, who the Jazz play next on Saturday, left their late rally short in a 104-103 loss to New York to end their four-game unbeaten start to the season.
Bulls star Zack LaVine scored 25 points, despite playing with a torn ligament in his left thumb as the Bulls’ 12-0 run in the final minutes nearly tied the score in a game the Knicks seemingly had wrapped up.
Ingles’ Boomers teammate Matisse Thybulle was a typical defensive menace with three turnovers, three assists, three rebounds and five points on 66 per cent shooting in his 15 minutes of court time as Philadelphia beat the winless Detroit 110-102.
Joel Embiid shook off lingering pain in his right knee and scored 30 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and hit a step-back three-pointer in the final minute to help the 76ers (2-2) stave off another collapse.
Neither Josh Green or Jock Landale clocked in for Dallas and San Antonio respectively in the Mavericks’ 104-99 defeat of the Spurs.
Green is in his second season with the Mavs while Landale forced his way into the NBA after a solid Olympic and NBL campaign, but neither have found their way into the rotation.
Four of the Washington Wizards’ five starters scored 21 points or more in a 122-111 win over the Atlanta Hawks that saw them move to 4-1 for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
“There’s that air of confidence,” new coach Wes Unseld Jr. said.
“It’s not arrogance, but we’ve put in a lot of time, a lot of work, and we have a ton of work to do. It’s good to be in the position we’re in, the fact that we’ve started the way we have, but we’re not done.”