Aussie big man Jock Landale played the best game of his short NBA career to date on Christmas Eve (AEDT) as the San Antonio Spurs thrashed LeBron James’s Los Angeles Lakers 138-110.
The NBL’s 2020/21 grand final MVP caught the eye of Spurs and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich during the Boomers’ bronze medal-winning campaign at the Tokyo Games and was subsequently offered his first NBA contract.
However, Landale began his career in the big leagues struggling for regular minutes and only had time on the floor in eight of the Spurs’ first 25 games this season.
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Sun, 16 Jan
Sunday January 16th
Landale cracked double digits in minutes for the first time when he was included as back-up centre for the clash with the Sacramento Kings last week, and from there, he’s continued to show his potential in the biggest competition on the planet.
Against the Lakers, he came tantalisingly close to his first career double-double, finishing with 13 points to go with three assists and eight rebounds from his 15 minutes on the floor.
Despite starting from the bench, Landale was the leading scorer for the Spurs (11 points) at the main break, well above starting centre Jakob Poeltl (4), having shot from the field with 80 per cent accuracy.
He was one of three bench players for the Spurs to score in double figures by halftime. Only one player on the Lakers (LeBron James, 23 points) had done the same.
Landale had a well-deserved break in the third quarter but came back on in the fourth as the Spurs opened up a game-high lead.
From there, the Spurs frustrated the Lakers and closed out the contest, having dominated the stats sheet in assists (33-21), free throw accuracy (84.8 per cent – 56.7 per cent) and accuracy from deep (46.2 per cent – 18.5 per cent).
American pundits were impressed with Landale’s high work rate and his offensive muscle.