|19 December 2012|
EUROPEANS IN THE NBA
|Reason to celebrate for Joakim Noah after his triple-double against the Celtics|
Hardly a day has gone by this last week without a European player picking up a triple-double in the NBA.
France's Tony Parker collected the first in his NBA career seven days ago .
The San Antonio Spurs point guard had 27 points on 9-for-18 shooting from the floor, 12 assists and an eye-popping 12 rebounds in his team's overtime victory over the Houston Rockets.
On Sunday, it was the Toronto Raptors' turn to play against the Houston Rockets and a chance for Jose Manuel Calderon of Spain to go again one better than his opposite number with France.
The Raptors playmaker had 18 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds to spur his team to a much-needed 103-96 win and register a second triple-double performance in his NBA career.
Tuesday meanwhile must hold some special appeal to French internationals, as last night Joakim Noah netted a triple-double, also the second in his NBA career.
The Chicago Bulls center finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and a career high-tying 10 assists to lift his team above eastern conference arch-rivals Boston Celtics, 100-89.
Noah and Spain's Marc Gasol (vote for him as player of the year here) are the best big men in the entire league when it comes to passing the ball so no one was surprised by his assists tally on Tuesday.
"I'm a point-center anyway," a smiling Noah said after the game.
"I always feel like I can pass the ball.
"I feel more comfortable with the offence, and we have a lot of people who can score the ball in different ways."
Danilo Gallinari (vote for him as player of the year here) did not feel much like passing on Tuesday night, but he didn't have to either.
The Italian small forward scored a season-high 28 points, including two deciding three-pointers in the clutch to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 112-106 win over the Spurs.
"Gallinari just ripped our hearts out with those two threes," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich admitted.
"On the one, Boris [Diaw] contested him better than anybody could possibly contest him and he just drilled that sucker."
|Had the hod hand against the Spurs: Danilo Gallinari |
The modest Gallinari, who also had nine rebounds, shrugged off the achievement: "Tonight it was me, maybe next night it will be somebody else and that has to be our strength."
Kostas Koufos of Greece, who starts at center for the Nuggets, scored only four points but brought down a season-high 14 rebounds.
Pau Gasol (vote for him as player of the year here) returned to action after missing the last eight games of the Los Angeles Lakers with a knee injury and helped his team dodge a bullet against the Charlotte Bobcats at home.
The Lakers edged out their opponents 101-100 with Gasol contributing 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes of action.
An outstanding Andrei Kirilenko (vote for him as player of the year here) went 10-for-16 from the floor to collect 22 points and Nikola Pekovic (vote for him as player of the year here) picked up a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds but the efforts of the Russian and the Montenegrin international were not enough for their team to avoid defeat.
The Minnesota Timberwolves fell 103-92 at Miami Heat in a game where Ricky Rubio, who only returned to the line-up on Saturday, was not risked by coach Rick Adelman.