You know its grand finals time when it’s the week after the release of the CBAB awards, with all the recipients notified of their nominations and victories, the fun of all that has happened for the season is over and it’s time to get down to business.
Game 1 of the grand final series lived up to the tag of an absolute blockbuster and other than the delayed telecast from OneHD, fans got to see what a real finals series is supposed to be like.
The refereeing throughout the season has been questionable at best, and with the 2 most physical teams in the league squaring off and the added impact of a heated rivalry, many purists were concerned that it would turn into a whistle fest that could destroy any sign of the series anyone had hoped for.
Amazingly though, the refs let the players play and allowed the game to flow quite well, even though there were questionable calls going against both teams, in the grand scheme of things, the game flowed well and provided fans with a game that for the most had you on the edge of your seat.
It was looking like game 1 was going to slip away from the Wildcats, who came out and stunned the fans from across the Tasman by starting strong and keeping the Breakers scoreless for some time in the first quarter, but the Breakers regrouped and brought the game back from the brink and gave the Cats all they could handle.
The Wildcats 2nd quarter was disastrous with a total lack of offensive production, and while they did play well defensively it wasn’t enough to hold off a 3pt barrage from the Breakers that had them up by 15 at half time lead by the 2 CJ’s and a Corletto, CJ Bruton and Cedric Jackson controlled the tempo of the game and freed up Corletto to drop bombs from the perimeter and break open a lead that had the Breakers comfortable at the half.
But in typical Wildcats fashion it’s not over until the final whistle blows and in an amazing comeback in the 3rdquarter, which is usually the Wildcats worst if you look at the season statistics, the Cats dropped a 31-18pt 3rd quarter to bring themselves back into the game to be within 2pts at the last break.
The 4th quarter saw a battle for the ages with the scores staying close and momentum swings going for both teams, Kevin Lisch lead the charge for the Cats in the 2nd half and took the game on his shoulders offensively, Lisch struggled in the 1sthalf but the league MVP showed why he was the winner of the award and lead the Wildcats to a tied score at the end of regulation and a period of overtime.
In overtime it was close again but the deciding factor was the fouling out of Damian Martin and Brad Robbins who could not provide the usual defensive presence against the likes of CJ Bruton and Corletto, Bruton turning out to be the deciding factor when he hit 2 huge 3pt shots to stretch the lead for the Breakers to more than the Wildcats could close.
Bruton proving once again that he is one of the most clutch performers in the history of the league, he can create space and hit contested shots when the pressure is at its highest and the game is on the line.
So with game 1 complete the series swings back to the Jungle for game 2 and a hostile Jungle crowd, will the Breakers have enough to take it all out on one of the most feared home courts in the league, will the return of Thomas Abercrombie be enough of a boost to get them over the line?
If the Wildcats have their way they will look to make a statement and punish the Breakers setting up a game 3 that is going to be the talking point for a long time afterwards regardless of who wins.
The CBAB boys will be at game 3 and in between screaming and cheering will provide as many updates as possible so make sure to follow us on twitter (@cantbuyabasket) for live updates from the game, but until game 2, which unbelievably is 7 days from now we will be providing our opinions and bantering with our fellow twitter friends (most of whom are Wildcats haters) which will most definitely include some facts and a whole lot of trash talk.
So unless something amazing happens, we’ll speak to you again after game 2, NBL Grand Finals, how can you not love it.