Ejections, deflections, dejection, inspection and rejections, the NBL Round 10 had it all.
Breakers hammer the Blaze, 106 – 85
How frustrating must it be to be a Blaze fan right now, other than having picked up Adris Deleon Blaze fans must be wondering what’s going on with their team. Most of the Blaze players in this game were subpar, even the consistent Mark Worthington had a stinker with only 6pts and 2reb.
A return to form for James Harvey is the only real positive sign to come out of this game for the Blaze, Harvey had 19pts but not much else, Adris Deleon did what he has been doing since he got to the NBL, score, Deleon had 15pts and 4ast but was also surrounded by the injury cloud, Adam Gibson messed around and came close to a triple double but it was Will Hudson who lead the way with his 19pts and 4ast.
The Blaze had 22 rebounds as a team for the game, less than half of the 48 pulled down by the Blaze, offence is great, but defence and rebounding wins games, this game just proves that fact further.
The Breakers were a whole different team on the day, having 6 players with double figure scoring, 2 players with double doubles in points and rebounds being Mika Vukona who was just outstanding with 21pts 11reb (9 offensive) and 6ast and Thomas Abercrombie with 16pts and 10reb.
Darryl Corletto was again showing his worth in the absence of CJ Bruton and the back court of him and Cedric Jackson holding it down, Corletto having 18pts 6ast while Jackson had 14pts 4reb and 7ast, the 6 turnovers were his only blemish. The big men also held it down, Alex Pledger showing growth in his game with 18pts 6reb and Gary Wilkinson continuing his workmanlike production with 11pts 8reb.
The Breakers look to be getting to where they want to be, the Blaze………………let’s just not go there.
Kings take down the 36ers, 107 – 103
Without captain Adam Ballinger in the round this week, the usual suspects for the 36ers did their thing, the same names you see dominating the 36ers box score ever week were at it again.
Daniel Johnson top scoring, no surprise there, Johnson has elevated his game to a new level this season being much better offensively and starting to show more grit in the defensive and rebounding duties expected of a 7 footer on any team, Johnson lead his team with 24pts 9reb and 3ast, definitely on the radar for most improved player this year.
Diamon Simpson was a great pickup for the club from the city of churches, proving that there may be a god in Adelaide and all those churches weren’t built for nothing, Simpson did his thing as usual playing down low and scrapping for all he can finishing up with 19pts 7reb and 3blk.
Stevie Weigh and Chris Warren also loaned a helping hand, Weigh with 12pts and 8reb and Warren with 15pts 3reb and 5ast, with that kind of performance from key players, patience and consistency is all that is needed before the 36ers are back in the mix, maybe not this year, but soon. The Kings on the other hand are also playing some good basketball and looked to be on the up and up, until the news came through that they could be losing their star and more than likely front runner for league MVP Julian Khazzouh to the NBA, JK is trialling with the Golden State Warriors and if picked up, could be gone for good.\
The good news for the Kings is that guys like Jerai Grant, Anatoly Bose and Aaron Bruce will still be left to steady the ship, and while they will provide solid play, the loss of Khazzouh may be just a little too much. Khazzouh recorded the first 20/20 double double of the 40 minute era in the NBL, no surprise that he would be the one to get it either with is 20pts 21reb game, funnily enough other players also got their hands on a rebound occasionally, Anatoly Bose grabbing 7 to go along with his 21pts.
The Kings top scorer though was again Aaron Bruce with 24pts and 5ast, who has been playing some lights out hoops of late which was what was expected of him after his stellar college career at Baylor.
So a bit of a bittersweet result for the Kings, a good win but the loss of their star player, let’s hope the Kings can stay competitive and continue to improve with their young core, if they can keep them together, the Kings will be back in a big way.
Taipans edge Tigers in overtime, 79 – 77
WOW, what more can be said about this game, nail biting down to the wire, just WOW, low scoring game that it was, you would have never thought so until reading the box score afterwards.
Cam Tragardh is just scoring points like his life depended on it with another 24pt haul and he even helped out on the boards with 7reb, much better numbers and what is expected from your prized big man.
Ron Dorsey is starting prove he was not a total waste of a 3 year contract with his 18pts and 12reb, Tommy Greer rebounded well but not much else, he had 11 but only 2pts, Ayinde Ubaka now having the responsibility to anchor the back court and having more freedom to play openly since the departure of Patty Mills proves he was good signing for the Tigers, his 18pts 6reb and 5ast giving the Tigers what they needed and almost taking it out with the last shot of the game to win it all that he just couldn’t get off in time. The most amazing thing about this game wasn’t the drama at the end of the game it was the fact that Trevor Gleeson for the first time in his coaching career didn’t argue a referee’s call after it was ruled that Ubaka didn’t get his shot up in time.
The Taipans are just that one team you hate to play, a hoodoo team for many who can just outplay you on any given day, and no team knows which Taipans team turns up each week, it’s a flip of the coin, you just need to hope you catch them on a bad day. Alex Loughton, after being such a perennial player when at the Wildcats has just taken a massive dive into funk land of late, being a premier player, or supposed to be anyway he should be putting up relevant numbers rather than bench production stats, his game this week of 4pts 7reb and 1/6 from the field is just not good enough, if Big Al can lift his game standard, you will probably see the Taipans lift higher with him.
Ian Crosswhite has proved that even as an ageing veteran he can still produce numbers, his 13pt 13reb effort was hard fought for, but it was again the imports of Jamar Wilson and Andrew Warren who did the damage. Wilson top scoring and just cutting the Tigers defence to shreds with his 27pt 5reb effort, and Warren did his thing with 16pts and 7reb. Beware the Taipans, they’re coming to limit your scoring, and if they do, and you play their type of game, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
New Zealand Breakers 86, Adelaide 36ers 73
At three quarter time this game was anyone’s, the Breakers holding the smallest of leads. Regrettably for the 36ers they did a LeBron James and went missing in the fourth quarter, allowing the Breakers to run away with a 13 point victory.
Gary Wilkinson stood out for reasons other than his red hair, the ‘Big Ketchup’ amounting 30 points, even going 4/5 from the land of plenty. The list of Breaker scorers continue, Daryl Corletto 15 points, Alex Pledger and Mika Vukona both with 13 whilst Cedric Jackson flirted with a triple double finishing with 11 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds. Ten rounds in and the Breakers are sitting on top of the ladder, right where they were last season; a hard feat when they have had to deal with lining up without arguably the best player in the NBL.
The 36ers rely on Daniel Johnson (17 points), Diamon Simpson and Chris Warren (16 points each) and without Adam Ballinger the 36ers had no other suitors. You can’t help but think that the 36ers would be so much more successful should Ballinger get sorted out or if Stephen Weigh plays with a bit more consistency. The Adelaide role-players have been very stock exchange at best.
Townsville burn the Kings, 80-67
Sydney, brilliant one day absolutely terrible the next. No that is not the weather, that is their basketball team. Just days after edging the bottom of the ladder 36er brigade they Kings looked real ordinary against quality opposition.
With Schenscher back into the offence the Crocs are not only taller in stature, but taller in spirit. Schench takes a load of the streaky Eddie Gill and Peter Crawford.
Sydney will be looking for any reason as to why this one slipped out of reach. After being within the realm of the game the Kings disappeared in the championship quarter. Sydney were also handed an extra ten freethrows over the course of the game but still could not find a way to get back into it.
Low shooting percentages equate to high rebounding numbers. Julian Khazzouh followed up his mammoth performance earlier in the round with another 16 rebounds to go with his 17 points. Jerai Grant hauled in 11 boards and scored 15 points Whilst Anatoly Bose rounded out the double doubles with 10 points and 10 boards. With Julian Khazzouh trying his luck in the NBA pre-season the Kings going to have a huge hole in the middle.
Peter Crawford had good patches of play to lead the Crocs with 17 points, Schenscher’s freethrow shooting partially covered his terrible field goal shooting to finish with 13 points Whilst Jacob Holmes scored 12 points and grabbed ten boards. The Crocs have now snuck into the top four, a place where they believe they belong. Any team wanting to challenge them will want to do so now as once the full roster is back in full working order and beginning to gel their opponents might be seeing more than just green.
Wildcats decimate the Hawks, 98-70
If I was a team I would fear facing the Wildcats coming off a loss. Playing with a chip on their shoulder the Wildcats got to work at the ‘Gong, a place until this season had been an unfruitful trip for them for some time.
After coming out the main break with a one point lead the Wildcats lit it up for 34 third quarter points, effectively putting the game out of reach. The Hawks never looked like getting back into it. The Wildcats turning up the heat d running out 28 point winners.
Wollongong can’t be looking at referee calls perceived to be incorrect, they need to be looking at other aspects of their game when looking for answers for the shellacking. 20 turnovers whilst only forcing 8, 10 points in the paint, 59% from the line. These aren’t stats that win games and we are sure Coach MacLeod will be telling his men this. Glen Saville checked himself out of the game when he was called for his second unsportsmanlike foul of the game, we can’t recall many USFs being whistled when a team is down by 23 points with 8 minutes to go in the game. Rhys Martin lead the way for the Hawks with 15 points, Oscar Forman 11 and Joevan Catron 10.
The Wildcats play a rough and aggressive style of play and every team knows that, you simply cannot let them have their way if you want to win. Shawn Redhage no doubt enjoyed his 23 points, hoping this is the one that breaks his form slump as of late. Kevin Lisch was dynamite, also scoring 23 points, 16 of those in the third period and the little guy even found time to haul in 8 rebounds.
Julian Khazzouh exploded for the first 20-20 game since the 40 minute format against the 36ers on Friday night, finishing with 20 points and 21 boards. Julian then followed that up with 17 points and 16 boards against Townsville on Sunday which totals 36 points and 38 rebounds for the week, simply a mammoth effort.
To cap it off Julian is making his way to the USA to test his luck with a tryout with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. This leaves Sydney in a very compromising position. A team that is winning only half its games is going to need to find 17 points, 10 rebounds and a whole lot of stubble somehow.
Can’t Buy a Damn Thing Award
Yes Thomas Abercrombie did go 0/9 against the Sixers this week, but he contributed in other ways such as pulling in 7 boards and dropping three dimes so he is safe. Aaron Grabau was a couple of rebounds and blocks of sharing the award this week.
Tyson Demos takes it out this week. In 15:20 of action against the Wildcats Tyson shot 0/6 from the field and tirned the ball over three times whilst registering big fat doughnuts in every other statistical category. Good work Tyson.