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Joe Ingles part of basketball history

On Thursday afternoon, basketball history will be made with the last ever NBA game played by 20-year Los Angeles Lakers veteran Kobe Bryant. Although the focus will be understandably intense on the retirement of the ‘Black Mamba’, one Australian on the other end of the floor will have a completely different motivation. In his second season in the NBA, Joe Ingles has an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in his career with a club that has not been in the playoffs since 2012 and last won a playoff game in 2010. The Jazz (40 wins, 41 losses) will earn the right to play the Golden State Warriors in the first round should they beat the Lakers, but will also need Houston to lose at home to Sacramento – a result that should be completed as Utah take to the floor at the Staples Centre. Ingles is aware that the focus on Bryant will be further challenge for his team. “Obviously there will be a lot going on, but we are here to win a game. “No matter the situation or timing we have to stay ready to do our job. But it will have a different feel to it, for sure. “I would love to face Bogues [Andrew Bogut] in the playoffs. There’s still a chance for us so we have to take care of business and let the rest sort itself out.” Bryant and Ingles have met many times on the hard wood in both the NBA and internationally, but wouldn’t single out a defining moment in any of those occasions. KOBES1 “I wouldn't say I have any favourite moments, but I will always remember just how much he did for the game. How hard he plays, the details, the footwork... It's all going to be missed. “I think I'm very lucky to have been on the same court with him, and especially now for his last game ever” The Jazz have been steadily improving and have increased their wins tally for a third straight year, despite the absence of point guard Dante Exum all season due to the ACL injury he suffered while playing for the Boomers last year. Ingles believes his second season in the NBA has been an improvement on his first. “I’m still a little up and down, but overall I'm happy. I’ve had to settle into a new role so I’d like to be a little more consistent, but glad I could help this team win some games and continue to grow, while getting better.” Ingles made NBL history when he scored 29-points on debut against the New Zealand Breakers in September 2006 which remains the highest ever by an Australian in his first game. [ooyala code="BmM2ZyMjE6S8-iGUPS-x1nhD9GHgT8Ba" player_id="d5b993422b3e4b5ebd61f9e19ca2a6a5" width="1920" height="1080" auto="true"] He played 102 games for the South Dragons, ending with a Championship in 2009. Despite being overseas, Ingles still follows the NBL closely and expects that he will return to play in Australia before the end of his career. “I would love to play in the NBL again before I retire. I always said I wanted to, but we will see how my body feels closer to the date. “Hopefully it's good and someone will have a roster spot for me! “I have always followed the NBL. It was where I started and where I first watched pro basketball. I'm an Adelaide boy so I was hoping for another ring back home but I'm really excited about how good the competition is and as it continues to grow. “Larry [Kestelman] and Jeremy [Loeliger] have done an unreal job and hopefully they can continue to build it.” Recently Ingles passed Chris Anstey as the 5th most NBA games played by an Australian and those two men are the only players to register 100 games in both the NBL and the NBA.

Most NBA games played by Australians* 679 – Andrew Bogut 654 – Luc Longley 411 – Patrick Mills 234 – Matthew Dellavedova 159 – Joe Ingles 155 – Chris Anstey 103 – David Andersen

*Including playoffs. List correct as of 13/4/2016

 
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