NBL Wrap Round 8: Dropping leads like their hot


What is with teams dropping sizable leads? The Crocs gave up a 20 point lead to lose by 14 points and the Wildcats saw a 20 point lead evaporate to just seven, although they managed to pull theirs back out before the time expired. 

Breakers burn Crocodiles, 88-74
The Crocs gave the Breakers a taste of their own medicine by jumping out of the gate and tearing it up for 33 first quarter points. From there the Crocs barely hit 33 for the rest of the game. Fearing a total ambush the Breakers defended their stronghold and regained control of Vector Arena.
How the tables turned for the Crocs in a matter of 40 minutes. The talk quickly turned from the Crocs being legit, to remit and acquit. With a bit of luck things get better for the Crocs when the retrofit (adding Schenscher and Hinder to the roster).  This isn’t the first time this season a sizable lead has been squandered and it won’t be the last but teams are going to want to search for ways to stop losing sizable leads.
Townsville’s problem was the offence dried up. After seemingly being on fire in the first the Crocs could not buy a basket. The exception was Jacob Holmes who fancied himself as an offensive juggernaut these days who finished with 21 points and going 5/5 from the land of plenty. Peter Crawford needed free throws to get his way to 17. Eddie Gill finished his horror night going 2/11 from the field. We’re certain Eddie isn’t happy with that.
What the Breakers showed us this game that they shoot three pointers as well as free throws (both 9/19, 47%). Cedric Jackson dusted off his lousy night from the field (4/11) to go into beast mode finishing with 11 points, 12 boards, 8 assists and 4 steals. Daryl Corletto  gave the Melbourne Tigers a reason to reflect on decisions they made earlier in the season with a 16 point haul and Thomas Abercrombie and Garry Wilkinson continually incited the crowd with 19 and 18 points respectively.

Sydney destroy Melbourne, 89-80
The result on the scoresheet will show that the Kings won by nine points but for them it was so much more. The Kingsfolk had grew impatient of the lacklustre performances by the Kingsmen and with a double this round the Moose had his kaboose on the line. After a fast start the Kings fanatical clenched up a little when familiar habits were brought to the forefront in the second period, a ten point lead squandered. At the main break the Moose went loose on his tirade to the players who responded in a positive manner, the Tigers who are adjusting to like without Mills could simply not match the points the Kings were putting on the board.
The Kings knew how to take on the Tigers, by playing inside. Julian Khazzouh and Jerai Grant had their way inside, The Tigers frontcourt no match for the dynamic duo. Khazzouh went 9/14 for 22 points and Grant 8/10 for 19. Ben Magden pleased the purple brigade with 26 points. As a collective the Kings fired at a 52% clip. Does this win save Moose’s job?
Cam Tragardh (28 points), Ayinde Ubaka (17 points) and Ronald Dorsey (15 points) put up a little resistance. As a team the Tigers had 25 rebounds, 1 steal and 8 blocks, hardly statistics that suggest any defence has being applied. To the Tigers credit, their 15/16 (94%) from the charity stripe is a good team effort.
Gold Coast Blaze 95, Adelaide 36ers 82
The Gold Coast Blaze held out for a 13 point win against the bottom of the ladder Adelaide 36er unit. The 36ers almost toyed with the possibility of starting a comeback but the ‘leagues most knowledgeable fans’ knew that that was going to be unlikely. Every time the 36ers hit a couple the Blaze would always be there to extinguish those spot fires.
Ardis Deleon continues his blitzing start to his NBL campaign. Will Deleon still have the same impact once teams figure out how to guard him? Deleon finished with a game high 25 points whilst Mark Worthington rand around the court and mustered 20 points and 7 boards. As usual the Blaze rely on their shooting percentages to win games and as of late have been hot. It is surprising to see a team get outrebounded 30 – 43 and that team still wins by a large margin. 
Darren Ng got hot late in the game to finish with a team high 20 points. Big men Daniel Johnson (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Diamon Simpson (14 points, 13 rebounds) wore the majority of the workload. Marty Clarke said after the game that is team is not “getting distracted with wins and losses” but is getting to the point where they might need to before it is too late to make a charge this season. Anyone could make the argument that a core of Johnson, Simpson, Adam Ballinger, Stephen Weigh and Chris Warren should be a little better than 2 and 6. 
Wildcats take out Sydney, 103 – 92
It looked like it was going to be a long night for the Kings early into this game as the Wildcats would hardly let them near the basket. Jerai Grant had other ideas though, with some monumental displays of his amazing athleticism, Grant threw down a huge dunk in the paint, and not long after channelled his inner Blake Griffin and tried to throw a monster dunk down on Matt Knight whilst coming down the lane, which only just rimmed out, otherwise Matt Knight would forever have been on Grants highlight reel.

Aaron Bruce started off in shocking form, committing 3 turnovers early, but he picked up hi game and ended up 1 assist shy of a double double with 15pts and 9ast. Khazzouh was even held to lower production than he is used to by the big Wildcats front line and only managed 16pts and 6reb, much less than he is used to, but it was Grant who was all over this game with 20pts 11reb and 4ast while providing highlights and lots of ooooh’s and ahhhhhh’s to the fans in the jungle, Anatoly Bose though was the top scorer with 22pts and 7reb, although we can’t recall where he seemed to get all those points.

The Wildcats were expected to win this game, and only for a few seconds was the result ever in question. Matt Knight is in tremendous form recently and it seems to be rubbing off as well onto Luke Nevill, both big men forming a big frontline and making the most of their opportunities when the ball comes into the low block. 5 Wildcats scored in double figures, and when that happens and the Cats score over 100 points, that usually means a very bad night for any opponent.

Kevin Lisch, while seeming to be in a small funk lately still puts the numbers on the scoreboard, Lisch had 14pts 8reb and 5ast while seeming to struggle but actually shot over 60% from both the field and from 3pt land. Cam Tovey has also regained some form, although not offensively, Topsy Tovey was blocking shots, rebounding and leading the break with supreme confidence, but for some reason which we are not sure of, didn’t play much in the 2nd half, it wasn’t foul trouble and we sure hope it wasn’t an injury. The Cats hold onto top spot and with a reasonable schedule to come with 2 more games at home looks like they may hold onto it for a while, and with room for them still to improve and also the eagerly anticipated return of Damian Martin, signs are looking good for those in Cat land.

Can’t buy a Damn Thing Award
Iti, phone home
Honourable mention this week goes to the Melbourne Tigers for their almighty collapse against the Kings but this week’s award goes to someone goes to someone most teams wish they had, a 7 footer, but this 7 footer probably couldn’t be given away right now.
Welcome to the club………………..Martin Iti.
Given great reviews after a stellar college career, Iti drifted for a while in obscurity before landing this season with the Kings who lacked size other than star Julian Khazzouh.
Iti this weekend in a double header round had stat lines in both games that resembled a box of Krispy Kreme’s, which for those of you who know CBAB terminology is a big fat 0 in their total stat line.
So to all those who say basketball is a game for tall people, maybe it is, but Iti shows this week that just being tall doesn’t mean you’ll be any good.
Hey Martin, powdered or glazed?
Gimme My Change Award
Jerai Grant takes out this week’s award with a great display of his improving game to go along with that tremendous athleticism.
Grant was a huge part of the win the Kings had against the Tigers and even though in some early foul trouble against the Cats was dunking, rebounding and blocking shots all over the court.
Any time you can go on a road trip and come back with totals of 39pts 16reb you know you had a good trip.
The fact that he was touted as being raw and a secondary, possibly 3rd offensive weapon on the Kings any coach will take that production, let’s just hope Grant can continue to improve, only problem is, if he does, he won’t be in the NBL for much longer.


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