Breakers beat Kings at the buzzer, 79 – 76
It may sound like the title of a bad movie, but this game will be dubbed “The Absence of Abercrombie” after the Breakers highlight reel player managed to have a Krispy Kreme scoring day with a do-nut in the scorer’s column.
Luckily the so called supporting cast of the Breakers picked up the slack to take over where Abercrombie left off, big games from Alex Pledger and Cedric Jackson kept the Breakers in the game, Jackson with his signature almost triple double stats and Pledger with a double double and the kind of play expected from him, all this though paled in comparison with the heroics of Mika “Beast Mode” Vukona who hit the winning 3pt shot to nut out the victory.
The Kings have gone from strength to strength recently with their sensational back court players taking over games to raise them from the team that used to be an easy beat to a team that is starting to be feared.
Coach Heal has given his young guards free reign to score and this week it was Ben Madgen’s turn to make coach proud, Madgen dropped 30pts and kept the Kings in the game offensively and his back court partner Aaron Bruce continuing his stellar recent form.
The Kings were unlucky not to be able to hold on or at least take the game into overtime but they got a dose of “Beast Mode” in the final seconds to lose in a heart breaking fashion from Vukona’s last second shot, the good news for the Kings though is that they are starting to believe in themselves and pushed the defending champs all the way to the final buzzer.
Taipans still keep Crocs winless in overtime battle, 92 – 80
It’s hard not to feel for the Crocs and the fans of Croc Nation right now, so far this year nothing has seemed to have brought them any joy, this game was no different.
The Crocs looked like they were again going to get pumped by their interstate rivals and were down double digits for most of the game, but a resilient comeback to get the game tight within the last few minutes had their fans hoping their nightmare run in the league would soon be over, when Gary Ervin hit a game tying 3 pointer to send the game into overtime all hell broke loose in the Swamp with fans feeling like it could finally be their night.
Sadly though it wasn’t to be, the Taipans who had controlled practically the whole game, blew a lead to go into an overtime period found their groove and took over from there, the overtime period saw them take back some of their earlier swagger and pound the Crocs on their home court into submission.
Gary Ervin played almost a lone fiddle role to try to will his team to victory, but it was the play of the Taipans and their young bench that took them all the way to victory, the Taipans young guns like Cameron Gliddon and Clint Steindl having breakout games and producing some highlight reel plays along the way to give the Taipans scoring punch and young legs off the bench.
Adelaide edge out Kings, 88 – 81
The Kings were playing their second game of the round and after a heart breaking loss to the defending champion Breakers were full of confidence going into the game against the 36ers and felt like they would take it all the way to the team from Adelaide.
Ben Madgen all but solidified his nomination for player of the week with another standout performance against the 36ers; Madgen has scored 50pts in the combined games for the round and the reason for the kings being so close in both games.
The 36ers were too much for the kings on this night though, possibly taking advantage of the Kings second game of the round and making the most of the fatigue factor that had to have been setting in with the King’s players.
The 36ers were just too much on this night with a team performance of spread out scoring production from Adam Gibson, Steven Weigh, Jason Cadee and Luke Schenscher all in double figures and with Anthony Petrie leading the way on the glass.
The Kings should not be disheartened by this performance, as with the other game of the round they are showing they can keep up with the elite teams of the competition and provide them tough opponents on any given night, the wins will come, it’s just a matter of time, Coach Heal can be proud of the way his guys have performed so far with this season with more than a few upsets likely to come.
Adelaide are keeping themselves in contention for a playoff spot early in the year and with a team with much more significant depth and size to outmatch any opponent in the league, the 36ers may be about to shake their bottom dwelling tag of seasons past.
Tigers extend Crocs winless record, 91 – 66
We’ve said it once but have to say it again, you have to feel for the Crocs, I doubt many in recent history of the league can remember a team with such high expectations having such a poor start to the season.
When you look at the Crocs roster and then look at their record, you have to stop and ponder what exactly is going wrong, you have a former MVP, a guy who just represented the Boomers at the Olympics, another former Boomer and one of the best pure 3pt shooters in the league, where is this going wrong? Even the Crocs Mr Consistent Gary Ervin had a mediocre game after having a blinder in the previous game of the round.
After this devastating loss don’t be surprised if there are some sackings, Larry Abney has provided practically nothing on his return to the league and while he may be a discount import, he wouldn’t be worth using an import spot on in any league in the world right now, Coach Woolpert must have sworn he ate a hot chilli because the heat he is feeling on his backside would be the first sign of a coaching change, will he be around much longer? If there isn’t a win soon our guess would be yes, coaches like Joey Wright come to mind as a coach who has no job right now.
The Tigers were desperate to not be the last team left without a win and came out with total focus to win this game, lead by Adam “Balls” Ballinger the Tigers totally outplayed the Crocs, Ballinger proving that he is recovering from his injury last season and was a great pickup for the Tigers coming back into game shape and form and can still possibly the franchise leading player he once was.
Seth Scott continuing to produce in a blue collar workman kind of way, he again put up some scoring and hit the boards hard, he was just one rebound off another double double, Scott and Ballinger lead the way to bring the Crocs to the promised land and get a win on the board.
So Croc Nation has to once again wait for that ever elusive victory, which is going to be the team that gives them that victory, with the defending champs their next opponent, this could end badly or provide the boost they need to revive their season.
Hawks demolish the Wildcats, 100 – 67
It was the most anticipated game of the season so far, the two undefeated teams of the league battling for early supremacy, the underdog Hawks against arguably one of the most feared teams in recent years in the NBL.
What happened after the tip off was nothing less than a clinical annihilation of the visitors by the home team, the crowd behind them, the ring looking as big as a hula hoop, town pride on the line, no wonder the Hawks looked like they were unbeatable just moments into the game.
The Hawks lead from start to finish opening up a double digit lead within the first few minutes, The Wildcats coming off a bye week just didn’t look like the team who had been undefeated in the last few weeks, their renowned defence being taken apart by Adris Deleon, Oscar Forman and Rhys Martin and shots just not falling, it seemed like the Hawks were getting every loose ball, every call and just all around playing harder, they wanted it more.
Jesse Wagstaff was early on the one shining light for the Cats but foul trouble limited his production, Deleon though just tore the Cats apart, coming off the bench to destroy any hopes the Wildcats had of pulling back a miraculous comeback.
The Wildcats have not been beaten like that for some time, and maybe it was something that was needed, there needs to be no excuses, they were just beaten by the better team on the day, but be sure next week their vengeance will be brutal, the 36ers had better prepare well to face a badly wounded opponent.
Gimme My Change Award
No doubt this week’s award deserves to go to the Wollongong Hawks for their clinical destruction of the Wildcats.
The Hawks have set themselves up as the lone owner of the real estate that is the top of the NBL ladder and the last team to have the honour of being undefeated, our hats go off to them this week as this proves that team chemistry, a great coach and utter determination can sometimes pull out a victory against all odds.
Our hats off to the team from the Gong for this week, you deserve it.
Can’t Buy a Damn Thing Award
This round we had a few contenders for the award, so instead of choosing it ourselves, we thought we would let you, our beloved readers and followers make your own choice, the candidates are as follows and you will be able to vote all week until round 6 starts.
Thomas Abercrombie and his Krispy Kreme performance of 0 pts, not something you would expect from one of the best young talents in the league and the so called highlight reel of the NBL.
We never thought we would see him as a nominee for this award but as they always say, never say never, welcome to the club Thomas.
The Townsville Crocs, we know it’d bad to kick someone when they’re down, but when you deserve a nomination you are going to get nominated.
Probably the best team in recent memory to not have a single win and with a hard task coming up next week against the defending champs, a nomination was pretty much a given for another round without a victory.
The Perth Wildcats, after their utter destruction at the hands of the Hawks, we feel we have to be an equal opportunity nominator.
The Wildcats got pumped like a cheap tank of petrol by the Hawks and couldn’t get anything clicking all game, when you play as poorly as they did, a nomination is bound to come, even when they are the team followed by us, mediocrity deserves recognition and this is one well deserved.
Wollongong’s game and shot clocks. The Hawks tried to up the ante with their game night experience adding two new LED video screens this week and they couldn’t wait to fire them up. Somehow in most likely an unrelated manner the Hawks game and shot clocks failed to function leaving some pretty sketchy shot clock counting down from the arena announcer. The Wildcats didn’t even know they had about six seconds left in the first quarter, bringing the ball causally up the court only to have the refs whistle the end of quarter.
A game clock is a vital piece of basketball and equipment and the game probably shouldn’t have gone on without one. Luckily it didn’t affect the outcome of the game, it’s just no way to play professional ball. Would the league make do if there was only one basket or only two umpires available, or would they wait until that problem was fixed?
So please do your part and nominate your candidates for this award and we will catch you all again after next weekends round.