Joe Ingles talks to a match official about a foul call. Picture: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
Joe Ingles talks to a match official about a foul call. Picture: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Ingles puts in a star performance for Utah Jazz

SOUTH Australia's Joe Ingles is the talk of the NBA after leading the Utah Jazz to 3-1 series lead over the Oklahoma Thunder in their Western Conference playoff series.

The 30-year-old scored a valuable 20-points, in a heated battle with Thunder All Stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook, to lift the Jazz to victory, 113-96, in game four at Salt Lake City.

The former Happy Valley resident was trending as No.1 on twitter in the US and was the most sought-after interview on US networks in the wake of the match for two reasons. Firstly for his confrontations with the high-profile George and Westbrook, secondly his multiple three-pointers, five of 11 from downtown.

Ingles, well-known in Australian sporting circles after debuting with South Dragons in the NBL, where he won rookie of the year in 2007 and has been a regular with the Boomers playing in three Olympic Games.

He is married to retired international netballer and former Adelaide Thunderbirds captain Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan), which makes them one of Australian sport's glamour couples.

But he was virtually unknown in the US until his feisty performance for the Jazz and cemented his reputation as one to watch with his knockabout approach in ensuing interviews.

He taunted NBA great Shaquille O'Neal for his attempt at an Australian accent and went on to explain why he would back down to nobody, including George.

"He's a really good player and I've got my work cut out for me each night defending him," Ingles said. I'm not going to back down."

As for the Shaq accent, Ingles, a former Pasadena High student, just had a chuckle.

O'Neal began the interview with: "Joe, hello mate, this is Shaq. Land down under."

Ingles put him in his place straight away.

"That's was terrible," he said. "I hear that all day in the locker room dhere but that was one of the worst (attempts at an Australian accent)."

Ingles also revealed he had taken the space he was given from outside the arc as a mark of disrespect.

And even after he missed his first few long-range shots, he had been determined to keep taking them.

"I do (feel disrespected)," Ingles said about being left open. "I feel like I've earned that respect to be guarded, especially from the three-point line.

"I got some good looks early from my teammates.

"I think I missed the first three or four. They all kept telling me to stay aggressive, be aggressive.

"I got some good looks and was lucky to knock them down.

"We compete, we play hard and it's what we're going to do for another game."