Tag: Anthony Drmic

Bullets fire in first half to win by nine points over Taipans on the road

BRISBANE Bullets have remained in contention for playoffs after securing a vital win over the cellar dwelling Cairns Taipans on the road last night. The Bullets won their twelfth game of the season to move to 12-14 in the win-loss column, two wins away from fourth, but also having played two less games. The Taipans seem all but set for a wooden spoon, sinking to their third straight loss and a 7-21 recored, this time going down to the Bullets by nine points, 87-96.

The Bullets were firing on all cylinders early, bursting out of the blocks to put up 30 points to 25 in the opening term, and then 27 to 20 in the second quarter to lead by 12 points at half-time. The visitors were looking in control, and the home fans needed to see some fightback, which they did in the second half. Cairns stepped up to stem the bleeding in the third quarter with both sides scoring 21 points apiece, while winning the last term 21-18, in a gallant fightback, but not enough to overrun the Bullets.

The Bullets topped the Taipans in most statistical areas, winning the rebounds (49-41), assists (19-17), blocks (6-3) and points from turnovers (11-6), having one less turnover and actually losing the steal count (6-2). The Taipans shot at a higher clip from the field (45 to 44 per cent), and dominated in the paint with 54 points to 40, as well as capitalising on second chance points (18-15). In the end the Bullets proved too strong though, making the most of their higher volume chances.

Nathan Sobey had an outstanding game for the winners, leading the way with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Jason Cadee came off the bench to score 21 points in 28 minutes. Anthony Drmic (14 points, three rebounds) and Lamar Patterson (12 points, four assists and two rebounds) both hit double-figure points, while the trio of Matt Hodgson (nine points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks), Harry Froling (six points, four rebounds) and Tyrell Harrison (six points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two assists) all contributed in a really even team effort.

For the Taipans, Nathan Jawai led the scoring with 20 points, as well as five rebounds, using his experience to full advantage in the five spot. Mojave King (13 points, seven rebounds) stepped up as Scott Machado (eight points at 33 per cent efficiency) had an off shooting night, though had the seven assists and two rebounds. Majok Deng (18 points, nine rebounds and five assists) was the most influential on the court coming off the bench for 28 minutes of action, while Venky Jois hit 12 points and two rebounds in the loss.

The Bullets take on Sydney Kings at Nissan Arena on Thursday, before hosting a second game – against the Perth Wildcats – on Saturday. The Taipans have back-to-back matches in Round 18 as well, with a road trip to John Cain Arena on Friday to face the South East Melbourne Phoenix, before hosting Perth Wildcats at Cairns Pop Up Arena on Monday night.

Picture credit: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Adelaide keep slim finals chances alive with win over Bullets

ADELAIDE 36ers left their mark on the Brisbane Bullets notching up a 22-point win 101-79, in a game that was filled with milestones. The win enabled the 36ers’slim finals hopes to remain intact as the end of the season edges closer, taking their win-loss ratio to 11-16.

It was an even first term of play with both the Adelaide 36ers and Brisbane Bullets feeling each other out and trying to get a read of the tempo. Lamar Patterson got involved in the action early for the Brisbane side, while Daniel Johnson proved he was there to play in his 350th game. There was no easy passage of play as both sides competed hard but simply could not create any separation with a mere point the difference at quarter time.

Heading into the second, a switch flicked for the 36ers and they started to run hot. Their ability to find the basket became more obvious while the Bullets simply could not keep up. Adelaide piled on 33 points to 24 in the term to take a commanding lead inspired by the likes of emerging talent Josh Giddey who had a night to remember. Sunday Dech started to find his rhythm in the second term pipping up with a couple of handy jump shots while Isaac Humphries continued to work his way back into his damaging form after returning from injury.

The milestone man in Adelaide’s Johnson made his presence felt in the second half, posting up an impressive 20 points to all but seal the deal for his side. But it was far from a one man show with teammate Keanu Pinder also thriving off Johnson’s energy and getting busy himself. Pinder helped to break the game open in the second half with an incredibly strong showing as he finished with 19 points for the match.

Accuracy proved to be an issue for the Bullets who could not replicate the highs of only days earlier with their commanding win over the Phoenix. They converted at a lowly 39 per cent from the field and 20 per cent from beyond the arc with the side struggling to capitalise on their chances to stay in the game. it was a disappointing third term for the Bullets who only managed to add 12 points to their tally while their opponents piled on another 20 to take their lead to 16 at three quarter time.

With it all to play for in the final term the 36ers banded together to keep the pressure on with a trio of players in Johnson, Giddey and surprise packet Pinder all asserting themselves. Adelaide had full control of the game from the opening minutes and did not look like relenting that pressure despite the best efforts of Nathan Sobey as the home side picked up their third win in as many games.

When looking at top performers it is hard to go past the services of Johnson who starred in his milestone game to lead all-comers with his 26 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Pinder found his groove with 19 points, seven rebounds and two assists while Giddey took the competition by storm once more with his consecutive triple double. The rookie played with great poise and smarts to notch up 15 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists to lead his side to victory. Dech played a strong support role thanks to his 13 points at 71 per cent from the field as both Humphries and Brandon Paul combined for 24 points between them in the win.

For the Bullets it is no surprise that Sobey led the charge draining 20 points, though he could have had more had he been more accurate from the field. Sobey also managed six rebounds and eight assists in the loss. Teammate Matthew Hodgson was up to his usual tricks nailing 19 points at 69 per cent from the field while also amassing nine rebounds. Harry Froling was the next best with nine points and eight rebounds as Anthony Drmic also plied his trade with nine points and three rebounds.

Photo credit: Kelly Barnes

Patterson back to old self, Bullets knock over Phoenix

THE Brisbane Bullets are back in the winners column after three straight losses, beating the South East Melbourne Phoenix 94-82 away in Melbourne. Andrej Lemanis’ side earned their eleventh win of the campaign, putting them just two wins off a .500 record and instilling themselves with a glimmer of hope to chase a top four spot in these later stages of the season.

After showing positive signs in his last outing against the Perth Wildcats, Lamar Patterson was instrumental in getting the Bullets out in front early putting up substantial numbers. Meanwhile, Nathan Sobey provided his services in every other aspect of the game during the opening 10 minutes.

Capitalising on the 22-15 quarter-time lead, Brisbane’s bench started to punish the Phoenix as the Bullets were hungry for a win. Things for the Phoenix got slightly more difficult following Ryan Broekhoff’s early departure from the game, after the guard suffered a cut above the eye following a stray elbow from Sobey.

Having reached a double-digit deficit at the midway stages of the second term, a convenient 7-0 run for Simon Mitchell’s side saw the Phoenix severely reduce their disadvantage capped off by a fastbreak Ben Moore dunk.

Shooting over 40 per cent, the Bullets snuck away with a minimal two-point lead at the main break (36-34) as the Phoenix shot a woeful 28 per cent from the field. While South East Melbourne was indeed finding their buckets in various ways, Brisbane’s sheer effort around the rim was the main proponent for the visitors’ lead after two quarters.

Sobey’s slow-scoring first half was quickly forgotten about with the NBL’s second highest scorer adding nine points to his first six in the third quarter alone. Furthermore, winning the third, 33-25, the Bullets held a hard-earned 10-point lead with a period to play, despite Cam Gliddon’s efforts on the offensive end, which saw the Phoenix running out of time to get back into the contest in front of their home fans.

Other Bullets such as Anthony Drmic and Matthew Hodgson started to show glimpses of their terrific form that many have become familiar with this season. This also included a few good moments from key personnel off the bench like Harry Froling and Jason Cadee as Mitchell Creek and Kyle Adnam struggled to take off throughout all four stanzas.

Eventually Brisbane would outlast South East Melbourne’s pursuit, running out of John Cain Arena with the convincing 12-point victory and scoring more than 90 points in a game for the first time in nine outings.

Both teams improved their accuracy in shooting tremendously with the Phoenix concluding their night with a 40 per cent clip and Brisbane improving theirs to an impressive 52 per cent. The Bullets were superior in rebounding (43-37), assists (20-14) and threes made (10-6), while the hosts won out in free throws, turnovers forced and second chance points.

Even though South East Melbourne was proficient in several areas on the floor, their one main flaw in their approach was an inability to stop Patterson. The former All-NBL First Team selectee was huge once again, finishing with 27 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Sobey was back to his usual self in the second half as he compiled a modest 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Drmic was the next highest scorer with 15 points, whereas Hodgson and Froling each produced 11 points in the win.

Gliddon was the Phoenix’s leading scorer for a large part of last night’s matchup before leaving the court with 17 points and five assists. That saw Moore have a strong second half with 18 points and seven rebounds next to his name after 40 minutes, while Reuben Te Rangi and Creek were good for 12 and 11 points respectively.

The loss for the Phoenix provides an opportunity for the Bullets to try and reduce the distance between themselves and the top four, which also applies to Brisbane’s next opponents in the Adelaide 36ers, who they face this Saturday. On the other hand, the Phoenix can enjoy a week-and-a-half long break before facing cross-town rivals in Melbourne United in Round 17 next Saturday.

2021 NBL Round 16 preview: United to triple up over the weekend

IT is going to be a mammoth round of basketball for Melbourne United as they take the court three times across Round 16 of the National Basketball League (NBL). A win, loss or draw from the top of the table side could alter the ladder with Perth Wildcats hot on their heels as the season winds down. The Hawks, Phoenix and Kings are the only sides to take the court once this round with the rest all making multiple appearances throughout the round.

Melbourne United vs. New Zealand Breakers
Wednesday, April 28 @7:30pm

Melbourne United are coming in hot boasting a nine game winning streak and will be hoping to maintain that streak with a win over the Breakers. New Zealand on the other hand are coming in off a strong win against a marginally higher opponent and therefore will be full of belief. That being said the Breakers will well and truly be the underdogs heading into the clash given they are facing off against the top of the table United who have showcased their class and level of depth to win under all sorts of pressure.

Untied have a plethora of options when it comes to scoring with Jock Landale and Chris Goulding arguably the power duo for the side. the duo produce an average of 16.46 and 15.72 points a game while the likes of Mitch McCarron and Scotty Hopson are other key facilitators with the latter hoping to improve his output after a quiet performance last game. Finn Delany is coming off an inspired effort in Round 15 and will be hoping to keep the good times rolling while Corey Webster is another livewire for the trans-Tasman side producing 15.56 points each time he steps out on court. Levi Randolph is starting to find his feet while Tom Abercrombie is the gift that keeps on giving but will need to be on his a-game if the Breakers are to win.

South East Melbourne Phoenix vs. Brisbane Bullets
Thursday, April 29 @7:30pm

It has been an up and down season to say the least for both sides with the Phoenix currently holding onto fourth spot on the ladder after dropping from third while the Bullets sit just outside the top four in sixth with 10 wins to their name. this clash will bring plenty of excitement and intensity as South East Melbourne look to remain inside the top four and the Bullets hope to stay in touch to keep their finals hopes alive.

With Mitch Creek at the helm and the likes of Keifer Sykes and Ryan Broekhoff also in the side, the Phoenix have the star power to dominate just need to find that level of consistency. Kyle Adnam has emerged as a real game changer and will be hoping to bring that level of intensity in this clash averaging 13 points and 3.88 assists a game. If Ben Moore and Yannick Wetzell are also able to get off the leash then it could spell trouble for the Bullets. Nathan Sobey has been electric for the Bullets, leading from the front with his 22.52 point average while Lamar Patterson has made a splash since defecting from the Breakers producing 11 points 5.5 rebounds a game. Matthew Hodgson and Anthony Drmic will need to get busy if they are to topple the Phoenix.

New Zealand Breakers vs. Perth Wildcats
Saturday, May 1 @5:30pm

The Breakers will take to the court for the second time in as many days and their job does not get any easier coming up against the second placed Perth Wildcats. It will be a tight turnaround for New Zealand having played on Wednesday night and the Wildcats will be hoping to capitalise on the fatiguing and lower placed side. Perth have struggled for continuity in the last couple of games and will be eager to iron out any kinks in their armour and put out a complete performance.

Bryce Cotton is the go-to man for the Wildcats averaging a competition high 24.29 points a game while teammate John Mooney is the other to keep an eye out for with his double-double average of 16.96 points and 12.04 rebounds. Todd Blanchfield, Jesse Wagstaff and Mitchell Norton also provide great support and will be hoping to fire in their contest against the Breakers. While for New Zealand it will be the old firm in Webster and Delany that will need to get going.

Adelaide 36ers vs. Brisbane Bullets
Saturday, May 1 @8:00pm

It has been a rough couple of weeks for the 36ers who despite regaining a couple of their stars in Tony Crocker and Isaac Humphries have struggled to find their groove. However up against the Bullets who have also been relatively inconsistent this could be their time to shine and claim a much needed win. Both sides sit on 10 wins apiece, with the win-loss status dependent on Brisbane’s result earlier in the round making for an exciting battle.

Josh Giddey took the competition by storm recording a triple double and becoming the youngest Australian in the league to do so. With his production levels high he will be hoping to replicate these odds while the return of Isaac Humphries is exciting and will provide additional scoring options for the 36ers. Daniel Johnson averages 20.65 points and 7.04 rebounds while Tony Crocker is also a livewire for Adelaide.

Melbourne United vs. Sydney Kings
Sunday, May 2 @3:00pm

In their second game for the round, expect Melbourne United to come out with a real sense of urgency and use their bench depth to get on top of the Kings. However Sydney have a point to prove and will be out to improve their standings on the ladder to create some ladder separation and secure themselves in third. The two sides have a rich history so expect plenty of fireworks as they fight it out for bragging rights, keeping in mind that United have to front up for their third game latter this round while the Kings can afford to leave nothing in the tank as this is their sole outing.

Boasting the likes of Casper Ware, United will have their work cut out when it comes to nullifying his explosiveness averaging 19.19 points a game while teammate Jarrell Martin is the other handful given his capacity to score with ease averaging 17. 11 points and 6.89 rebounds a match. With no Dejan Vasiljevic and Didi Louzada the Kings will be looking for support from Jordan Hunter and Brad Newley to overcome Melbourne United who will be seeking assistance from the likes of Yudai Baba and Jo Lual-Acuil.

New Zealand Breakers vs. Illawarra Hawks
Monday, May 3 @7:30pm

Monday nights clash will be the Hawks’ first and last for the round while it is a different story for the Breakers who will be gearing up for their third. the Hawks dropped out of the top four, currently sitting two games shy but a win here keeps them within striking distance as the season approaches the backend. For the Breakers their inconsistency and poor start to the season hurt them and after two games against top two opposition have their work cut out for them here against the fifth placed Hawks.

The combination of Tyler Harvey and Justinian Jessup has worked wonders for the Hawks with the pair able to find the basket and keep the scoreboard ticking over thanks to their respective averages of 19.56 points and 14.68 points. Cameron Bairstow is one who has flown under the radar this season as has Sam Froling but if the two can get busy then it could spell danger for the Breakers. In their sole game for the round expect Justin Simon to also get busy and ply his trade while the Breakers look to the experience of Abercrombie to lead from the front.

Adelaide 36ers vs. Cairns Taipans
Tuesday, May 4 @7:30pm

A battle of the bottom sides commences on Tuesday night as the Adelaide 36ers go head-to-head with the Cairns Taipans. The Taipans clash with the Phoenix was cancelled meaning the side will be well rested heading into their match against Adelaide. Neither side have been in arguably great form holding seventh and ninth place respectively but that does not mean it won’t be a cracking game of basketball as they look to find a winning edge.

With no more Cameron Oliver it is up to Scott Machado to carry the load and lead from the front in what is set to be a gruelling match. Machado averages 16.36 points, 3.52 rebounds and 7.12 assists but will need support from the likes of Majok Deng and Kouat Noi if they are to challenge the Adelaide 36ers.

Melbourne United vs. Perth Wildcats
Wednesday, May 5 @7:30pm  

A top two clash between Melbourne United and Perth Wildcats is a fitting way to end Round 16 as the two sides battle it out for more than bragging rights but so too ladder position. In saying that, United will have played one more game than their counterparts meaning it will be battle of which team can outlast the other and the level of depth both sides have. If the wildcats are able to capitalise on the fatigued United outfit it will go a long way in securing them the win. However Melbourne do not give up easily and with finals surely approaching expect them to leave nothing to chance.

Boasting the likes of Goulding and Landale the Wildcats will be hoping to shut down their signature style of play and reduce their opportunities to attack the rim. Expect Lual-Acuil to be big off the boards while McCarron and Hopson are lethal with ball in hand. For the Wildcats there is no denying that Cotton and Mooney are the game changers but will need support from Blanchfield if they are to get over the top.

Cotton and Mooney trounce the Bullets, Perth continue chase for top spot

A STRONG start and an even better finish was responsible for the Perth Wildcats’ 92-74 win over the Brisbane Bullets last night, with the hosts securing a tied league-best eighteenth win of the season, putting them half a game back of Melbourne United for top spot in the standings.

Even in front of a modestly sized crowd at RAC Arena, the Wildcats ran the Bullets off the floor in the opening quarter with a 20-9 performance helped along by Mitchell Norton being the player to watch in the first 10 minutes of play. After leading by 14 points at one stage in the first, Brisbane did well to fight all the way back to within a single point at the middle stages of the second quarter. However, Bryce Cotton started to make his mark on the game along with John Mooney extending their lead out to six points with a couple of minutes left in the initial half of play.

Ultimately leading 45-36 at the main break, Perth finished the first half in relatively good form as they were shooting at a solid 45 per cent from the field. The Bullets on the other hand fell below 30 per cent in shooting during the first two quarter, making just 11 of their 37 attempts prior to the third term.

Despite making five threes compared to Perth’s two, Brisbane was inferior in almost every other aspect of the game, meaning that another strong half by the Wildcats would see another win go into the pockets of the defending champions, unless Andrej Lemanis could string together another strong run like the one in the middle of the second stanza. Perth threatened to pull away in the third pushing their lead out to 18, but before the Bullets would throw in the towel the combined work of Harry Froling, Nathan Sobey and Lamar Patterson sparked an 11-0 run to head into three-quarter time, capped off by a triple from Anthony Drmic on the buzzer.

As close as the Bullets were threatening to get, Perth’s continuous grind-type of playstyle was proving too much for the Bullets. To make matters worse, Sobey found himself with five fouls and a disqualification with less than two minutes to play. Being up by 14 points, the home side could then walk their way to the finish line concluding the meeting as 18-point winners.

The Wildcats shot the ball exquisitely at 47 per cent as the Bullets were sluggish to get the ball off their shoulder shooting the rock at 36 per cent. While Brisbane gave away one less turnover, that was the team’s only success in terms of statistics. Every other category fell the way of the Wildcats which included the dominating numbers on the boards with Perth earning 48 rebounds and 35 bench points over Brisbane’s 39 and 23.

Once again, Cotton finished on top in scoring with 21 points, six assists and four rebounds next to Mooney, who was massive on the glass with 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Norton had a rather quiet second half as he notched up 11 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Jesse Wagstaff compiled a 12-point and six-rebound performance.

Off the bench, Froling ended up being the main scorer for Coach Lemanis’ squad, concluding the night with 20 points and three rebounds. On another note, Patterson’s quiet return since recovering from injury is officially over following his 19 points, 10 rebounds and a pair of steals. Sobey finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists, as Drmic contributed 11 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Brisbane will need to bounce back as the loss suffered last night has the potential to permanently derail their season, unless the Bullets can rectify yesterday’s outcome by defeating the South East Melbourne Phoenix next week. Perth awaits news regarding who they face next and when, due to the state’s three-day COVID-19 lockdown.

Picture credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Brisbane need to find good form fast, Sobey conducting career-high season

WHILE the NBL21 season continues to tick over, the standings have started to display the different roles that each of the nine competition sides have to play with the final stretch of games remaining.

With this in mind, the Brisbane Bullets have emerged as one of the teams that has its season hanging in the balance with no clear indicator as to whether they will fall or climb in the standings. Only time will tell, with the Queensland side set to face 14 more opponents in the next seven rounds.

As of late, the Bullets have been struggling to find a legitimate stretch of form losing out in their previous two games against Melbourne United in Round 13 and most recently the New Zealand Breakers last week – a surprise loss to many.

If Andrej Lemanis and his side are ready to step up their composure it will need to be quick, as the tough matchups start to line up from the get-go. Later tonight, Brisbane will need to conquer the Red Army as they size up the Perth Wildcats before they host the third placed South East Melbourne Phoenix two days later.

Fortunately for the squad, the return of numerous players from injury has re-energised the Bullets’ morale and has put them in the best possible situation to try and shock the league with their depth.

Despite losing Vic Law to a season-ending ankle injury, former Breaker and NBL All-First Team selection Lamar Patterson is back from a knee injury and is ready to start dominating the Brisbane frontcourt once again. In his most recent performance, he pulled together a rather quiet nine points and five rebounds, while turning the ball over three times in the loss against his old team.

Noted as a quiet night to say the least, many remain hopeful of what Patterson is capable of based on his ridiculous numbers last year. The 29-year-old averaged 21.4 points per game, along with six rebounds and 4.6 assists in NBL20, while currently the power forward is putting together roughly 10 points per game and just over three and a half rebounds each time on the floor. A slow start to say the least, but plenty of time to make some improvement in the second half of the NBL21 fixture.

Other players to have recently returned from the injury block include sharpshooting wing Anthony Drmic who has been of useful significance up to this point of the season averaging over 10 points per game, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists, and performing well in his rookie year, youngster Tanner Krebs (5.7 points and 2.2 rebounds).

It has been a season like no other for Bullets’ captain Nathan Sobey, with the 30-year-old owning the floor at both ends accounting for almost 23 points, five rebounds and four assists each time he steps onto the floor while shooting at an elite 47 per cent.

Starting big man and Patterson’s running mate of two seasons now, Matthew Hodgson is enjoying the effects of a good season once again after what was a stellar NBL20 campaign last season next to former Bullet Will Magnay. This year next to Harry Froling (7.4 points and 5.5 rebounds), Hodgson is another one of Brisbane’s double-digit point contributors averaging 10.7 per game at a 57 per cent shot efficiency and collecting 6.7 boards in the process.

The fifth player on the Brisbane roster to average more than 10 points per game is one of the most versatile players in the NBL and has earned his salt in the competition to be respected as a shooter and a defender. Jason Cadee is putting up his fourth highest scoring output during his eleventh season at the topflight of Australian basketball. The 30-year-old comes into today averaging 10.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds and continues to play a pivotal role in each win that the Bullets have collected up to today.

With a pretty even split of home and away games leading up to the semi-finals, not only do Brisbane need to hold down the majority of their home fixtures, but they also have to go into enemy territory and steal away numerous upsets if they are to make their steady climb up the ladder.

Over the next few weeks, the Bullets are set up for a tough stretch of games. As mentioned above, Brisbane is set to take on the two-time defending champions tonight and the Phoenix on Sunday as well as Thursday. Following this, the Bullets then take on two struggling outfits in the Adelaide 36ers and the Cairns Taipans, preceding a tough Round 18 involving the Wildcats and the Sydney Kings. This then sets up Brisbane for a three-game Round 19 for the Bullets with still a handful of games to take place afterwards.

Brisbane is one of the nine sides that has a foothold on the season as a contender, but time is running out and another bad run of form from Coach Lemanis’ side could very well mean losing their best chance at a late postseason charge.

Kings back in top four after strong win over Sobey and Bullets

AFTER producing a strong first half, the Brisbane Bullets were unable to hold off a relentless Sydney Kings side going down in New South Wales, 90-71, with the Queensland side lacking the star power needed thanks to numerous injuries within the side. The win for the hosts helped get their five-game home stint off on the right foot – cracking the top four too as a result.

Neither team really pulled away from the other for about the first six minutes trading buckets back and forth. However, a transition three-pointer from Shaun Bruce put the Kings up 18-11 and created the first separation of the meeting.

The Kings looked as if they were going to possess a dominant first quarter lead, but a three from Brisbane shooter Jason Cadee, Nathan Sobey and Tamuri Wigness helped the Bullets to a 23-22 lead at quarter time.

Adam Forde urged his side to step up before half-time as Sydney kept knocking at the door, but Brisbane refused to budge off the back of their captain’s efforts. Sobey accounted for a career-high total before the main break with 21 points and five rebounds, which was essential as he was without Vic Law, Lamar Patterson and Anthony Drmic – all main weapons for Andrej Lemanis that he did not have.

Thanks to Sobey’s effort, the Bullets led at half-time 42-40, but that still left plenty of time for the Kings to get their noses in front before the conclusion of yesterday’s opener. Again, it was the efforts of imports Jarell Martin and Casper Ware which were able to contribute in the first half that provided the Kings with extra confidence, as the duo combined for 17 points in the first half.

It took little over a minute for Sydney to knock down back-to-back-to-back buckets and instantly lead by four to start the second half. Spanning from Thomas Vodanovich’s field goal to finish the second quarter to Blake Jones’ jump shot three and a half minutes into the third, the Kings strung together 11-straight points to solidify a commanding third term lead going ahead by seven points following the run.

The third period was a success on two fronts for the Kings as they led 61-53 after 30 minutes of basketball. The first being that had now secured a decent lead after initially starting slow out of the blocks, particularly in the first half, winning the quarter 21-11. The second had been slowing the roll of Sobey, who was limited to just five points in the third.

As soon as the Kings had found out how to shut down Sobey, the fourth quarter was nothing more than a formality with the hosts running up their margin to double digits and beyond. To cap off what was a successful night to say the least for the Kings, eight consecutive points from Craig Moller put the icing on the cake as Sydney ended last night with the 19-point win.

Brisbane’s lack of accuracy was their main obstacle last night shooting just 32 per cent, converting 23 of their 71 attempts, but shot the three-ball at a decent 46 per cent which picked up some of the slack in their offensive production. Every other category went the way of the Kings, but the most notable of Sydney’s successes was their ball movement and their damage down low in the paint. The Kings out assisted Brisbane 27-13 and owned the space near the basket, scoring 44 points in the paint compared to the Bullets’ 18.

Surprisingly, it was Moller that led his side in scoring with 20 points and five rebounds off the bench in 18 minutes on the floor, knocking down four triples on the way to the win. Martin (16 points and 10 rebounds) and Dejan Vasiljevic (13 points and five rebounds) were the next highest Sydney contributors, meanwhile Ware was the final King to accumulate 10 points or more, finishing with 11 points and nine assists.

Sobey was held to just 10 points in the second half meaning he would finish with a still impressive 31 points, nine rebounds and playing all 40 minutes, as well as going seven of seven from the free throw line and dropping six threes too. Cadee amassed 11 points and four rebounds, whereas Tyrell Harrison was an absolute animal on the boards with 19 rebounds and eight points.

Up next for Brisbane, they open up Round 13 when they travel to Wollongong to square off with the top four contending Illawarra Hawks, as the Bullets struggle to find solutions to their undermanned roster.

Despite missing an opportunity to add an extra win to their current five-game home stand in their last defeat to the Perth Wildcats a couple days ago, the Kings can exact revenge when they face the reigning champions again on Thursday at Qudos Bank Arena and defend their newly acquired top four position.

Picture credit: Getty Images

New Zealand Breaks Bullets’ steely resolve in overtime thriller

NEW Zealand Breakers have played the role of party pooper at Nissan Arena, upsetting Brisbane Bullets as the Queensland side eyed off forcing their way into the top four. The Breakers led at the main break and three quarter time, but a final quarter flurry from the home team forced the game into an extra period. A sensational effort in the overtime period resulted in the Breakers restoring the momentum and taking out the win by just five points, 81-76 in front of almost 3000 fans last night.

Colton Iverson was absolutely manic off the boards with a ridiculous 20 rebounds to go with his 10 points in a double-double effort, as Tai Webster and Finn Delany also had nights out for the visitors. Despite the pairing of Anthony Drmic and Nathan Sobey combining for 48 points, it would not be enough for the Bullets, as they fell short in one of the games of the year.

The first term was relatively even with the Bullets leading by a point at quarter time, before New Zealand broke away with a 22-18 second quarter. Brisbane lifted the scoring in the third term, but New Zealand repeated the 22-point effort with much of the same in the quarter. The Breakers looked to have the game in control leading by five points with two minutes on the clock in the final term, but Sobey had other ideas, with a three-point jumper, steal and then driving layup to tie the game, as Webster could not manage to hit a couple of late shots.

The teams traded baskets in the extra period even into the final minute when they were at 76 points apiece with 46 seconds on the clock. A Delany triple, followed by back-to-back free throws from Webster secured the match with 12 seconds on the clock, with a couple of long-range attempts in the dying seconds to the Bullets missing. The win saw the Breakers move to 5-11 for the season, snapping a four-game losing streak, whilst Brisbane slipped to sixth on the table, and now remain at 9-8, level with Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks.

Iverson’s double-double effort had him cause all sorts of headaches for the opposition, but it was equally hard to look past Webster’s enormous 27-point, 10-assist, six-rebound and four-steal performance, spending 41 minutes on court, the most of any player. Delany had the 17 points and nine rebounds, whilst Tom Abercrombie toiled away for almost 41 minutes, picking up five points, three rebounds and three blocks. Rasmus Bach‘s effort of 16 points, five rebounds and two steals was also a key contribution, as Dan Trist had five rebounds and two assists in six minutes off the bench.

For the Bullets, Drmic led the scoring with 25 points – though four of 13 from long-range – as well as seven rebounds and three steals, while Sobey had a double-double of 23 points – four of 11 from long-range – 11 rebounds and three steals. Tanner Krebs (10 points, four rebounds and two assists) had double-figure points, while Tyrell Harrison was the second best rebounder on the court, racking up 16, including 12 defensive rebounds, to go with seven points and three blocks. Jason Cadee was the best of the bench players, managing a hard-working 35 minutes for seven points, four rebounds and two assists.

Brisbane Bullets will need to lick their wounds and recover quickly as they take on Illawarra Hawks tomorrow night at WIN Entertainment Centre. The Breakers will have a longer break before a Thursday night clash in Perth on April 1 against the red-hot Wildcats, which is followed by an equally tough assignment at John Cain Arena facing South East Melbourne Phoenix on Sunday, April 4.

Brisbane returns home to rout Breakers in 88-67 drubbing

THE Brisbane Bullets’ chase for a top-four seed continues after they put on a four quarter clinic last night back at home in Queensland, defeating the New Zealand Breakers, 88-67, adding to what seems like an ever-growing avalanche of good form as of late for the team from the Sunshine State.

Even though Brisbane shot the ball at an abysmal 33 per cent from the field in the first, the home side was able to snag a 21-19 lead over the Breakers in just 10 minutes of action, and emerge from the first period with an abundance of momentum thanks to their power weapons Nathan Sobey, Vic Law and Anthony Drmic scoring five points each.

Both teams continued to trade buckets in the second term. Most noticeably it was Harry Froling that made a substantial impact, with the center adding his thirteenth point to the Bullets’ first half points total after a ridiculous behind the backboard shot on the buzzer, putting Brisbane up at half time 44-39.

Colton Iverson’s second quarter was especially quiet given his impressive first, while Tai Webster continued to hit his shots during the initial two stanzas with 13 points and three assists. However, Matthew Hodgson started to answer the call off the bench with a few nice finishes, helping lead the Bullets to what ended up being a rather impressive first half in the end.

Froling continued to make his name known down low as too did Drmic with the sharpshooter making the opponents pay from long range and the Bullets widening their lead to 16 points by the final break (64-48) and limiting New Zealand to nine points in the term. Meanwhile, the battle between Law and New Zealand’s Thomas Abercrombie was proving to be a hotly contested one at that.

The Bullets had won all three of the opening three quarters, and the fourth looked to follow a similar fate. With Hodgson adding to his night on the scoreboard and Jason Cadee aiding as well, Brisbane was in good stead to finish strong.

Finn Delany and Webster tried their best to ignite some form of a spark, but the home side was poised to make their homecoming back to Nissan Arena a happy one. Pushing their lead past 20 points, fans could relax and watch the Bullets coast to their ninth win of the season.

Consistent shooting quality helped raise Brisbane’s field goal percentage in the latter three periods up to a solid 45 per cent, while the Breakers themselves slumped back down to 39 per cent. The Bullets also found more success from deep, knocking down seven triples – three more than their opponents.

Astoundingly, the difference was clear-cut on the glass where Brisbane dominated the category 51 to 38, which helped contribute to 21 second chance points on the offensive end and 52 points in the paint compared to New Zealand’s 40, key wins in their journey to the victory last night.

Just two points off his career-high in scoring, Froling’s 20 points and four rebounds was the highest scoring total for the big at his new franchise as he was finding numerous methods to scoring all night from various locations. Hodgson and Drmic each accounted for 16 points apiece, while Sobey finished with a quiet 12 points and three assists.

Including Froling, Webster was arguably the best player on the court in last night’s closer with 19 points, 5 assists and four rebounds, whereas the only other Breaker to produce over 10 points would be the 12 and nine rebounds by Delany.

Brisbane pulled within half a game of the top four once again as the South East Melbourne Phoenix also grabbed a victory yesterday, but signs are promising for the Queensland side while the Breakers drop to four wins and 10 losses. New Zealand and the Bullets will square off again six days from now, although the Dan Shamir’s struggling side will open Round 11 proceedings in Bendigo against Melbourne United on Thursday.

Kings overwhelm unbridled Bullets, now one win out of top four

THE final game of the Brisbane Bullets’ impressive NBL Cup run has ended in disappointment for the Queensland side, after going down 108-119 to the Sydney Kings and relinquishing the mid-season tournament to the Perth Wildcats as a result. A picture-perfect 71-point second half by the Kings and a new franchise record for points in a 40-minute game, was the main proponent for Sydney’s win last night, which now sees their record improve to seven wins and eight losses – a single win from a top four position.

After suffering their biggest loss and lowest points total in the game against the Illawarra Hawks during their last outing, Sydney looked to hit the ground running leading 10-5 in the opening few minutes. Although the Kings were able to initially put their noses in front, Nathan Sobey and Orlando Johnson were integral in kick-starting the Bullets’ night, as they were looking to extend their exemplary form during the NBL Cup.

Sobey and Anthony Drmic would combine for 14 of Brisbane’s 24 points in the first, snagging the minimal 24-23 lead after the first 10 minutes and finishing the period on a 6-0 run, while Brad Newley led the Kings in scoring after one with five points.

Following a quiet opening quarter, Jarell Martin started to have an impact on proceedings with the Kings’ import forward scoring six of the team’s first eight points in the second, but Brisbane would pull away first, pushing out to a seven-point lead as Adam Forde tried to motivate his roster. However, the Kings’ foul trouble facilitated a double-digit lead for the Bullets, but some late pressing and points off of turnovers by Sydney pulled the deficit back to eight points at half time.

Brisbane’s lead was a by-product of their 48 per cent shooting through two terms and the 12 personal fouls they forced from Sydney allowed the team to capitalise on their 10 free throws from 13 attempts, meanwhile the Kings had shot just a single free throw from the line.

Sydney flipped the script in the third with their best single-quarter scoring performance to date this season, as the Kings outscored the Bullets 38-24. Nevertheless, it was Drmic who scored a triple on the buzzer which signalled a possible dash to the finish line in the fourth involving both squads.

As the shots kept falling for both sides up until the conclusion of the game, Sydney did a tremendous job of keeping the Bullets at an arm’s distance. Ultimately, adding five more points to the final margin of victory, leaving Melbourne with an 11-point win and some momentum to utilise for the remainder of the season.

Shooting efficiency increased substantially for Sydney in the latter two quarters, raising their shooting percentage to 54 per cent, whereas Brisbane’s would drop down to 45 per cent. The Kings’ 54 points in the paint was also highly pivotal to the outcome of last night, as was their 14 extra points off the back of turnovers forced.

Bouncing back from an average performance last time out, Casper Ware made amends with 25 points, 10 assists and four rebounds in what was safe to say a complete game. Martin also reminded onlookers what he was capable of with 21 points in 21 minutes, also adding three rebounds despite finding early foul trouble. Four other Kings reached double digits with Craig Moller putting up 15, Jordan Hunter and Thomas Vodanovich contributing 13 points apiece and Shaun Bruce ending with 11.

Both Sobey and Vic Law (23 points and nine rebounds) had good nights overall, but Sobey was phenomenal by a mile leaving the floor with 35 points, six assists and four rebounds off of six three pointers in 35 minutes of action. Matthew Hodgson had a decent night off the bench with 12 points and nine rebounds, while Drmic put up 11 points. Competing in his 200th consecutive game spanning back to his debut 2011/12 season with the Gold Coast Blaze, Jason Cadee accumulated 11 points and six assists.

With both rosters concluding their NBL Cup runs, Sydney will head home to Qudos Bank Arena to host Melbourne United opening up Round 10 in what is always an entertaining matchup. For Brisbane, they will suit up the following night to host the New Zealand Breakers.

Picture credit: AAP