Tag: victor law

Bullets upset Hawks in thrilling final term

BRISBANE Bullets have stunned Illawarra Hawks with a gutsy come-from-behind win to end their three-game losing streak (88-82). Both sides were desperate for a win, with the Hawks having only registered one in their past five outings and Brisbane struggling with illness and injury. But it was a fast finishing Bullets outfit that got the “W”, rectifying their poor start to the game to well and truly overpower the Hawks and leave fans in awe.

It was arguably the Hawks’ game to lose, and they did just that. Establishing a dominant 11-point lead by restricting the Bullets to a mere nine points in the opening term thanks to some strong defence and terrific shooting, Illawarra seemed to have the game on their terms. Their confidence was sky high and they were taking complete advantage of the missing players from the Bullets’ side, with Victor Law ruled out for the remainder of the season with injury. But the tables steadily started to turn in the second quarter as Brisbane found a bit more rhythm; not only on the scoreboard, but across the court. They outscored Illawarra 24-22 but that did little to eat into the large margin that had already been created.

In the first half alone, the Bullets only managed a lowly 33 per cent shooting accuracy from the field and coughed up the ball seven times. This continuously gifted the Hawks with opportunities to stream down the other end of the court and apply some offensive pressure.

However, it was almost as if the Hawks were lulled into a false sense of security, taking the foot off the pedal in the third and gifting the Bullets with an opportunity to strike. The newly acquired services of Lamar Patterson came into effect, however it did not last long as he was fouled off in the third while Nathan Sobey got busy. Brisbane threw caution to the wind, attempting a wealth of three-pointers with the risk paying off as they started to mount some serious pressure. Their dominance started to come to the fore once again outscoring their opponents 26-18 to head into the final stanza down by a single point.

With it all to play for in the fourth quarter the Bullets left nothing to chance as the Hawks simply could not keep up with the intensity and pace of the game. But that is not to say Illawarra were without their chances as the Bullets produced a number of turnovers at important times as the clock ticked down. Justinian Jessup played his part for the Hawks hitting a controversial three before it was deemed just a regulation two-point shot. With a tick over 20 seconds to play the Hawks coughed up the ball once more, all but gifting the Bullets the win as they sealed the deal off the hands of a Jason Cadee free throw.

The Hawks will be left ruing their missed opportunities and inability to close out the game, while the Bullets will be rapt with their passion and determination to keep the game alive and win.

Jessup led the way for Illawarra producing a team-high 19 points to accompany his two rebounds, three assists and four steals. Partner in crime, Tyler Harvey upped the ante after returning from injury, slotting 18 points at 42 per cent while Daniel Grida was the next most prolific thanks to his 12 points, five rebounds and one assists. Sam Froling made his presence felt sinking 10 points while also picking up six rebounds and three assists.

For the Bullets, it was the efforts of Cadee that stood head and shoulders above the rest with the guard and captain nailing 22 points including five triples. It did not stop there as he also produced four rebounds and two assists. Harry Froling fell just short of a double-double credit to his 21 point and nine rebound effort as Sobey increased his scoring as the game went on to finish with 17 points, five rebounds and six assists. Matthew Hodgson had a game to remember amassing 10 points and a whopping 14 rebounds in an all-round solid performance by his side.

2021 NBL Round 13 preview: Hawks set for three games in six days

ROUND 13 of the National Basketball League sees a number of teams prepare to take the court twice as the backend of the season quickly approaches. After having to reschedule a game last round, the Illawarra Hawks are set to play three games over the course of six days as they look to stay in the hunt for a top four slot.

Adelaide 36ers

Perth Wildcats, Saturday, April 9 @7:30pm

The 36ers only play one game for the round and, having dropped to seventh on the ladder, desperately need a win to keep their slim finals hopes alive. However, it will not be easy, having to combat a firing Perth Wildcats side that are strong in every which way possible. Adelaide have struggled without Isaac Humphries who proved to be a lynchpin across the court. But in his absence the likes of Josh Giddey and Daniel Johnson have stepped up to the plate. Johnson leads the way with 20.33 points, 7.24 rebounds and 2.86 while Giddey boasts a stat line of 11.06 points, 6.86 rebounds and 6.72 assists. Tony Crocker has been a pillar of consistency playing 20 games while Sunday Dech just falls short of double-digits when it comes to points.

Brisbane Bullets

Illawarra Hawks, Wednesday, April 7 @7:30pm
Melbourne United, Monday, April 12 @7:30pm

The Bullets are only one win outside of the top four and if they manage to secure the two wins here could be within a chance to leapfrog up the ladder. The first game sees them take on Illawarra Hawks who have struggled for consistency as of late, while their next clash is against the second placed Melbourne United who have recaptured their dominant ways. Nathan Sobey has been a consistent figure for the Bullets averaging 23.36 points, 4 rebounds and 4.11 assists a game. Victor Law is another one that will be eyeing off a big game against the higher placed opponents producing 18.81 points and 8.25 rebounds a game while Anthony Drmic, Matthew Hodgson and Jason Cadee are instrumental.

Illawarra Hawks

Brisbane Bullets, Wednesday, April 7 @7:30pm
South East Melbourne Phoenix, Friday, April 9 @7:30pm
Cairns Taipans, Sunday, April 11 @5:00pm

It is going to be an exhausting round of basketball for the Hawks, having to play three games over the span of less than a week. The Hawks get things started with Brisbane Bullets on Wednesday night before following it up two days later against the Phoenix. They cap the round off on Sunday against the Taipans who have struggled for form the entire season and will be hoping to capitalise here. They will be hoping that Tyler Harvey is back to his damaging best after suffering back spasms last round and unable to have a huge influence on the game. His presence is undeniable averaging a team-high 19.21 points, 3.42 rebounds and 2.68 assists. Justinian Jessup is another playmaker managing 14.4 points a game while Cameron Bairstow is solid. The Hawks will need support from the likes of Sam Froling, Justin Simon, Deng Adel and Andrew Ogilvy if they are to get over the line in all three games and make a real play for a top four position.

Melbourne United

New Zealand Breakers, Saturday, April 10 @8:00pm
Brisbane Bullets, Monday, April 12 @7:30pm

Getting back to their winning ways, United are currently sitting on a five game winning streak and will be out for blood once more against the lowly Breakers and out of touch Bullets. The Breakers have had a rough run of things and United will be eager to capitalise on that while the Bullets are inconsistent to say the least. Only sitting a game away from top spot expect United to leave no stone unturned. Melbourne look to a number of players to ply their trade with Jock Landale topping the table with 16.25 points, 7.85 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game. Captain Chris Goulding is influential and will be out for a big couple of games averaging 16.21 points while Mitch McCarron is another livewire for Melbourne United thanks to his 11.95 points, 5.25 rebounds and 4.65 assists. Unfortunately, United will be without Jack White after he ruptured his Achilles meaning Scotty Hopson, Yudai Baba and Shea Ili will have to be on their A-game to notch up the two wins.

New Zealand Breakers

Melbourne United, Saturday, April 10 @8:00pm
Perth Wildcats, Tuesday, April 13 @7:30pm

It is going to be difficult weekend for the New Zealand Breakers who first step out on the court on Saturday and then have to back it up a few days later on Tuesday. Although they will be used to the short turnaround it is their opposition which spells danger up against the top two sides in Melbourne United and Perth Wildcats meaning they will have their work cut out for them. The Wildcats are in ripping form while United have re-found their rhythm and are looking ominous. But the Breakers are not without some key talent of their own such as Tai Webster (19.35 points, 5.12 rebounds and 6 assists), Finn Delany (14 points, 6.29 rebounds and 1.88 assists). Tom Abercrombie and Colton Iverson are others to keep a watchful eye on as they look to claim their sixth win of the season.

Perth Wildcats

Adelaide 36ers, Saturday, April 10 @5:30pm
New Zealand Breakers, Tuesday, April 13 @7:30pm

Perth will be looking to continue their winning ways with another couple of victories across Round 13. They will look to open their account against Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night and then follow it up on Tuesday against the eighth placed Breakers. Bryce Cotton is the go-to man constantly lighting up the court thanks to his impressive 25.83 point average, 2.67 rebounds and six assists. Partner in crime John Mooney is the other playmaker for the reigning champs boasting a double-double of 17.22 points and 12.22 rebounds. Todd Blanchfield cannot be underestimate with the captain a consistent figure thanks to his 14.17 points and 3.28 rebounds.

South East Melbourne Phoenix

Illawarra Hawks, Friday, April 9 @7:30pm
Sydney Kings, Sunday, April 11 @3:00pm

South East Phoenix will lock horns with Illawarra on Friday night before fronting up to play Sydney two days later. The Phoenix have locked down third spot on the ladder, currently sitting two games clear but a couple of wins here could all but solidify their standings. Mitch Creek was back amongst it last round and will be hoping to build on his form boasting a season average of 20.28 points, 6.94 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Keifer Sykes is steadily building back into the thick of things while Ryan Broekhoff’s dominance is starting to come to the fore with 8.83 points to his name. Kyle Adnam has been a revelation and will be keen to keep those good times rolling while Ben Moore and Yannick Wetzell are excitement machines.

Sydney Kings

Perth Wildcats; Thursday, April 8 @7:30pm
South East Melbourne Phoenix, Sunday, April 11 @3:00pm

The Kings will have their work cut out for them facing off against Perth in their first game before locking horns with South East Melbourne Phoenix. It is going to be a top four battle all-round for the Kings and a couple of strong wins here could set them up for the backend of the season. Casper Ware is the in-form player for the Kings with the guard dominating with a 19 point average while import Jarrell Martin has been a revelation. Keep an eye out for Dejan Vasilijevic and Didi Louzada with the latter finding his form last week.

2021 NBL Round 11 preview: Ladder-defining clashes shape weekend of action

A SMALLER but action-packed Round 11 action in the National Basketball League (NBL) has plenty of ramifications for the ladder heading into the back-end of the season.

ADELAIDE 36ERS:

vs. Cairns Taipans @ Cairns Pop Up Arena, Sunday

The 36ers have the solitary game up against the Taipans on Sunday, and will be desperate for a win to stay in touch with the top four. The 36ers have slipped to a 7-12 record and the fact they are two wins behind the three teams above them is made all the more worse given they have played as many as three more games. They have lost their past four games, and will be keen to turn around a slump against the only team in worse form than them in the Taipans. Daniel Johnson (19.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists) and Josh Giddey (10.9 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists) are the key in the absence of Isaac Humphries (15.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.0 blocks). They should win and keep the pulse of their season alive.

BRISBANE BULLETS:

vs. New Zealand Breakers @ Nissan Arena, Saturday
vs. Illawarra Hawks @ WIN Entertainment Centre, Monday

The Bullets are on the verge of breaking into the top four, with four wins in their past five games, and coming up against the bottom two side New Zealand Breakers up first. If they pass that test they will grab a top four spot, but they need to account for the team currently holding that position to stay there, in the Illawarra Hawks. Expected to take care of the struggling Breakers, the Hawks’ clash is almost an early elimination final and will put the winner in good position going forward. Nathan Sobey (23.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists) leads the way, with Victor Law (18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.4 blocks) and Matt Hodgson (10.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks) providing the physicality close to the basket. Going 2-0 from the round will help the Bullets put themselves in best position for finals, whilst 0-2 would be a disappointing result.

CAIRNS TAIPANS:

vs. Adelaide 36ers @ Cairns Pop Up Arena, Sunday

The Taipans are just looking for any type of form they can build after a shocking run of form with five consecutive losses since they just got past Sydney by four points on March 4. Having won only one of their past nine games, the Taipans are well and truly on life support in 2021, but could try and build some form with a victory over an equally-struggling 36ers’ outfit. Cameron Oliver has still been remarkable this season, putting up 15.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks, as has Scott Machado (17.9 points, 7.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds), but the pair have lacked support, particularly of late, with only Kouat Noi (10.2 points. 4.4 rebounds) the other player to start in every match with them. Back in front of a home crowd against a team that is struggling will be the Taipans’ best chance at getting a win on the board.

ILLAWARRA HAWKS:

vs. Perth Wildcats @ RAC Arena, Friday
vs. Brisbane Bullets @ WIN Entertainment Centre, Monday

The Hawks will have the best measuring sticks to work out just where they are at in Round 11 of the competition, coming up against the ladder-leading Perth Wildcats, and the team threatening to take their fourth spot on the ladder. If the Hawks can win both, they will draw closer to the top two, but a couple of losses could see them slip as much as four games outside those benchmark sides. The game against Brisbane Bullets will be particularly important for getting a step up in the lead-up to finals. Tyler Harvey (20.0 points. 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists), Justinian Jessup (14.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists) and Sam Froling (10.4 points, 7.0 rebounds) are the three players who have had the greatest impact on the season, starting in every game for Illawarra. A massive week for the Hawks with an early finals challenge prior to the post-season series.

MELBOURNE UNITED:

vs. New Zealand Breakers @ Bendigo Basketball Centre, Thursday
vs. South East Melbourne Phoenix @ John Cain Arena, Saturday

Melbourne United have got the monkey off the back with a drought-breaking win after four straight losses threatened to derail their season. Luckily for United, they had enough of a lead at the top that they only dropped the one spot to second, and remain in contention for the minor premiership. A first-up game tonight against the struggling New Zealand Breakers needs to be a win no questions asked, but the South East Melbourne Phoenix will be a tougher task. If United can come away with two wins, then they will mount the pressure on the Perth Wildcats heading into the back-end of the season. Jock Landale has been as expected coming into the side this season, racking up 17.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.7 blocks, while Mitch McCarron (11.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.6 steals) is the only other player to start in every game. Chris Goulding (15.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists) has proven to be a crucial cog with his experience out on court in crunch moments.

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS:

vs. Melbourne United @ Bendigo Basketball Centre, Thursday
vs. Brisbane Bullets @ Nissan Arena, Saturday

New Zealand Breakers might be bottom two, but with the least games played, the permanent visitors to Australia will have a chance to make up some ground on their opponents over the next month. With a 4-10 record, the Breakers are desperate to gain some more wins on the board, but have a tough draw this round with a clash against the hungry United, and then a date with the Bullets – who need every win they can get as well – on Saturday. Any win is a good start, but the Breakers will be hoping to snag a couple of upsets in Round 11. Tai Webster (19.9 points. 5.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.2 steals) has been a shining light alongside Finn Delany (13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists), with the exit post-injury of Lamar Patterson and injury to Corey Webster.

PERTH WILDCATS:

vs. Illawarra Hawks @ RAC Arena, Friday
vs. Sydney Kings @ Qudos Bank Arena, Sunday

The Wildcats just find a way, just when everyone has written them off, to get better and take home the points. Perth took out the NBL Cup despite being in poor form prior to it, and has built on that form in the round since, having won nine of their past 10 to head into Round 11 with a remarkable 11-4 record. The Wildcats are in the most consistent form of their lives, though their opponents the Sydney Kings (four of the past five) and Illawarra Hawks (three of five) also have more success than failure this year. Both their opponents could play finals this year, so it will be a real test for the Wildcats to continue their form, first at home tomorrow night before hitting the road for a trip to the east coast on Sunday. It is fair enough to run out of superlatives for Bryce Cotton (26.1 points. 6.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.9 steals) but he has been joined by partner-in-crime John Mooney (17.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists), while Todd Blanchfield (14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists) has created a three-prong attack.

SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX:

vs. Melbourne United @ John Cain Arena, Saturday

The Phoenix have finally found their groove in the NBL in their second season with four straight wins leading them from a 6-7 record to a 10-7 one and remarkably just one win away from the top two teams. Whilst admittedly the Phoenix have played an extra game or two, they are hitting form at the right time, and could match United on wins if they can win The Throwdown on Saturday back at John Cain Arena. Ryan Broekhoff is building minutes slowly off the bench with 4.3 points and 1.3 rebounds thus far, while Yannick Wetzell (11.1 points, 5.9 rebounds) and Ben Moore (11.1 points, 7.0 rebounds) have stepped up in the absence of top scorers, Mitch Creek and Keifer Sykes of late to keep the wins ticking over. It will be a tough game against United, but with several teams right on their tail, the Phoenix will be desperate to win to stay in touch with United and the Wildcats.

SYDNEY KINGS:

vs. Perth Wildcats @ Qudos Bank Arena, Sunday

Just the one game for the Kings this round, and it is another grand final rematch, coming up against top of the table Perth Wildcats. The Kings are in pretty good form with four wins from five games, almost as good as the red-hot Wildcats. If the Kings can grab the win, it will put them in good contention to grab a top four spot, and will be hoping other results go their way. Casper Ware has been at his prolific best with 19.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season, teaming up well with fellow shooters, Dejan Vasiljevic (17.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists) and Jarrell Martin (17.1 points, 6.4 points and 1.5 assists). Whilst the scoring drops off after that, they do get a lot of points off the bench in an even team effort. The Kings could springboard off a win against the Wildcats to set themselves up for a strong finish to the season.

2021 NBL Stats: Round 10

HEADING into Round 11 of the National Basketball League (NBL) Draft Central takes a look at some of the top performers so far. It is no surprise that a number of Perth Wildcats feature highly in the key statistical areas given their stranglehold over the competition at the moment while Melbourne United’s shared approach sees only a few players make the top five.

Points:

Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) 25.43
Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets) 23.56
Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne Phoenix) 21.19
Daniel Johnson (Adelaide 36ers) 20.06
Tyler Harvey (Illawarra Hawks) 20

Guiding his side to multiple wins throughout the 2020 NBL season star guard, Bryce Cotton leads the way for points with an average of 25.43. He is impressive on all fronts but is a clear standout in the competition when it comes to his ability to hit the scoreboard on a frequent basis. Nathan Sobey is hot on his heels with an average of 23.56 points for the Bullets while Mitch Creek has been a pillar of consistency for the Phoenix producing 21.19 points a game. Daniel Johnson has enjoyed his time out on court for the 36ers putting up 20.06 points as Tyler Harvey continues to ply his trade for the Hawks thanks to his 20 points.

Assists:

Scott Machado (Cairns Taipans) 7.72
Keifer Sykes (South East Melbourne Phoenix) 6.90
Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers) 6.65
Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) 6.21
Tai Webster (New Zealand Breakers) 5.57

Although it has been a disappointing season for the Cairns Taipans, Scott Machado has still found plenty of highlights leading the league with an average of 7.72 assists. Machado is incredibly crafty with ball in hand and is not afraid to show off his skillset. Despite being out for the past couple of games Keifer Sykes has proven to be crucial with ball in hand for the Phoenix registering 6.90 assists as Josh Giddey only gets better with time for Adelaide amassing an average of 6.65 dimes a game. cotton also features within the top five for assists thanks to his 6.21 average while Tai Webster has been a solid contributor for the New Zealand Breakers in their challenging season thanks to his 5.57 assists.

Rebounds:

John Mooney (Perth Wildcats) 11.50
Cameron Oliver (Cairns Taipans) 8.89
Victor Law (Brisbane Bullets) 8.25
Isaac Humphries (Adelaide 36ers) 8.08
Jock Landale (Melbourne United) 7.88

Hailing from the Perth Wildcats, John Mooney has imposed himself off the boards with a competition high 11.50 rebounds a game showcasing his overall strength and read of the play. The next best is Cameron Oliver with the Taipans representative a menace off the boards thanks to his 8.89 rebounds while Victor Law is also up there credit to her 8.25 rebounds a game. Isaac Humphries has been forced to the sidelines for the past couple of rounds but still holds a commanding position in the competition when it comes to rebounds through his 8.08 average while Jock Landale is a force to be reckoned with for Melbourne United producing 7.88 in each outing.

Blocks:

Isaac Humphries (Adelaide 36ers) 3
Jack White (Melbourne United) 2.56
Jock Landale (Melbourne United) 1.63
Cameron Oliver (Cairns Taipans) 1.56
Victor Law (Brisbane Bullets) 1.31

Humphries tops the table with an average of three blocks a game while Melbourne United representative Jack White has showcased his ability to impact the play credit to his 2.56 blocks a game. Teammate, Landale is another handy option given his ability to bob up and effectively ply his trade producing 1.63 blocks a game. Oliver and Law round out the top five with the two boasting an average of 1.56 and 1.31 blocks a game for their respective sides.

Steals:

Justin Simon (Illawarra Hawks) 1.94
Cameron Gliddon (South East Melbourne Phoenix) 1.82
Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) 1.79
Mitch McCarron (Melbourne United) 1.56
Tyler Harvey (Illawarra Hawks) 1.44

The Illawarra Hawks have two players feature in the top five for steals with Justin Simon taking out the number one spot thanks to his 1.94 steals a game while Tyler Harvey bookends it with 1.44 steals a game. Cameron Gliddon has been a consistent figure for South East Melbourne Phoenix managing 1.82 in each outing as Cotton also chimed in with 1.79 steals a game for Perth. Mitch McCarron has made a name for himself for Melbourne United picking up 1.56 steals displaying his ability to cleanly get hands to ball.

NBL21 – Round 10 preview: Melbourne United search for first win in three games

ROUND 10 of the National Basketball League (NBL) commences on Friday night as Melbourne United search for their first win in three games and Perth look to steal top spot. The excitement does not stop there as New Zealand Breakers and Brisbane Bullets go head-to-head after the exit of Lamar Patterson.

Sydney Kings vs. Melbourne United
Friday, March 19 @ 7:30pm

Still clinging to top spot, United will be hoping to get back on the winners list after a disappointing couple of outings. Currently on a three game losing streak Melbourne are in desperate need of a win if they are to retain the mantle and create ladder separation between them and Perth, with the Wildcats quickly closing in. First they will have to overcome Sydney who have a checkered history heading into the clash, winning two of their past five games. Both sides have a lot to play for as the Kings look to make a challenge for top four and United look to solidify their standings.

Melbourne United will be looking to ever-reliable Chris Goulding to lead from the front with the captain able to hit the scoreboard with relative ease and rack up the assists. His average of 17.5 points a game alongside the output of Jock Landale (16.8 points) will be an area the Kings look to stop. Landale is also a force to behold off the boards with 7.93 as teammates Mitch McCarron and Yudai Baba have also effectively chimed in throughout the season and will once again need to have an influence to get their side over the line.

For the Kings it is hard to go past livewire Casper Ware who is a steady stream of points averaging 20.47 per game along with 3.53 rebounds and 4.27 assists. Although Ware is the main facilitator he gets a wealth of support from the likes of Dejan Vasilijevic (17.87 points, 3.47 rebounds and 1.87 assists) and Jarell Martin (17.44 points, 6.33 rebounds and 1.11 assists). The trio will need to be at their damaging best if they are to upset United.

Perth Wildcats vs. Cairns Taipans
Friday, March 19 @ 9:30pm

The Wildcats have enjoyed a recent run of hot form and up against the last placed Cairns Taipans could extend their winning streak to four games straight. Hot on the heels of Melbourne, a win here could see the reigning premiers overtake United and steal top spot if everything falls into place. Perth are playing with a renewed sense of confidence and belief while the Taipans are struggling to build any form of offensive pressure an area the Wildcats will be looking to exploit in their clash.

Led by Bryce Cotton, the Wildcats will look to attack the rim and post a commanding score with the guard averaging a competition high of a 25.23 points. It does not stop there for Cotton with the star accumulating 2.92 rebounds and 6.38 assists a game. John Mooney has had a season to remember boasting averages of 17.54 points, 11.77 rebounds and a steal while captain Todd Blanchfield is a reliable avenue for the side. others to keep an eye out for throughout the clash include Jesse Wagstaff and Mitchell Norton.

The damaging duo of Cameron Oliver and Scott Machado will be the ones the Wildcats will need to stop if they are to topple Cairns. The pair are able to inflict scoreboard pain averaging 17 and 17.88 points respectively while Oliver is strong off the boards with 9.19 rebounds and Machado a menace with ball in hand registering 8.13 assists. Majok Deng and Kouat Noi are also not to be underestimated for the Taipans.

South East Melbourne Phoenix vs. Adelaide 36ers
Saturday, March 20 @ 5:30pm

The battle between South East Melbourne Phoenix and Adelaide 36ers is set to be a tantalising one as they look to keep their respective seasons alive. The Phoenix are currently secure in fourth spot having won three consecutive games while the 36ers have dropped down the ladder since the absence of Isaac Humphries. However the Phoenix are not without injury concerns of their own as a number of key cogs will be missing, meaning Adelaide could be in with a shot to overrun their opponents and kickstart the back-half of their season.

Captain Mitch Creek will not take the court this round meaning South East Melbourne will have to look to others to pave the way in this challenge – cue NBA recruit Ryan Broekhoff who despite only playing limited minutes in his first outing is more than capable of taking the reins and leading the charge. Kyle Adnam has made a name for himself throughout the 2021 season and will need to step up to the plate in this contest averaging 14.5 points, two rebounds and four assists. The influence of Cam Gliddon and Yannik Wetzell will be crucial for the Phoenix to get the win.

Daniel Johnson has been a reliable figure for Adelaide managing 20.35 points, 6.94 rebounds and 3.06 assists a game. Rookie, Josh Giddey has been a revelation, yet to skip a beat and will be a likely candidate to impress given his 10.69 point average which accompanies his 6.44 rebounds and team-high 6.56 assists. Tony Crocker is another one to watch out for thanks to his 10.76 points a game.

Brisbane Bullets vs. New Zealand Breakers
Saturday, March 20 @ 8:00pm

There will be no love lost between these two sides with personnel changes aplenty as Lamar Patterson departed the club and subsequently joined the old firm, Brisbane Bullets for the remainder of the season. That aside, and it has been a challenging season for the Breakers given they only have four wins to their name while Brisbane have doubled their record with eight. Teetering on a top four position the Bullets will be eager to put a stop to the fast starting New Zealand side and claim some early ascendancy to mount a chance to pressure the top four.

The combination of Nathan Sobey and Victor Law will be the one the Breakers will be concerned about with the pair able to shoot with ease and cause all sorts of scoreboard trouble. Sobey leads the team for points scored with 24.33 to his name alongside 3.47 rebounds and 4.33 assists while Law is also prolific thanks to his 19.6 points and 8.27 rebounds. Matthew Hodgson has been a key contributor throughout the season as has Anthony Drmic and Jason Cadee all of which will be aiming to get on the scoreboard again.

Unfortunately Corey Webster will be missing for the Breakers leaving a big hole to fill for the New Zealand outfit with brother Tai Webster likely to further shoulder the load. Tai Webster tops the side for points with 20.08 to his name while also collecting 5.31 rebounds and 5.62 assists. Finn Delany is another focal point for the Breakers producing 13.62 points and 6.32 rebounds.

Other games:

Melbourne United vs. Illawarra Hawks
Sunday, March 21 @ 3:00pm

Sydney Kings vs. Cairns Taipans
Sunday, March 21 @ 5:00pm

Perth Wildcats vs. Adelaide 36ers
Monday, March 22 @ 9:30pm

The Hawks will play their first and only game against Melbourne United in what is set to be a scintillating matchup given the standings of the two sides. An extended break could do Illawarra a wealth of good while United will have to back up having played Friday night. The Hawks will look to Tyler Harvey and Justinian Jessup to lead the charge once again with the star duo proving too hot to handle averaging 20.6 and 14.53 points respectively a game. other contributors such as Cameron Bairstow and Sam Froling will have to bring their a-game if they are to overcome the higher ranked United.

Perth could knock Melbourne off their perch if they register two wins and United do not while the Kings will be eager to assert themselves on the lowly Taipans.

Patterson to re-join Bullets for remainder of 2021 NBL season

IT has been a whirlwind couple of days in the National Basketball League (NBL) as New Zealand Breakers bidded farewell to Lamar Patterson as the American import joined forces with his former club, Brisbane Bullets.

Patterson left the Bullets at the end of the 2019/20 season taking up the opportunity across the ditch, however he has struggled with a lingering knee injury and finding form to recapture the dominance he had last season. He only managed six games throughout his time with the Breakers, averaging 10.83 points, 3.67 rebounds, 1.83 assists and a steal a game.

His departure from the club has provided Levi Randolph with an opportunity to step up to the plate for the New Zealand side. Randolph brings plenty of x-factor to the Breakers outfit having played in the NBA G-League and averaging 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists. His inclusion will aid the likes of Tai and the injured Corey Webster when he returns who have been pillars of consistency for the Breakers throughout the season. the changes do not stop there for the Breakers though with Will McDowell-White also joining the fray with coach Dan Shamir highlighting the influence they could have on the squad.

“It is no secret in basketball you need creators, and losing both major creators in Lamar and Corey requires replacing them,” Shamir said. “Levi is a different player to Lamar, and Will is a different player again, but in terms of being a functional team, it gives us good weapons.”

Patterson was a key cog for the Bullets throughout the 2019/20 leading his side to multiple victories and proving to be a real thorn in the oppositions’ side. The American product managed impressive numbers last year averaging more than double of his current points tally with 21.43 points a game. He also starred off the boards in the previous season, recording 6.04 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.14 steals showcasing the stark difference between this year and last. With Patterson headed back to the Sunshine State it means the Bullets farewelled fellow American Orlando Johnson in the process.

One thing is for sure and that is that the Bullets outfit and head coach Andrej Lemanis is excited to welcome back the forward, given his extensive knowledge of the squad and his bag of tricks.

“We all know what Lamar, at his best, brings to this group and whilst there will still be an integration process because we are a different team to the one he has played with last season, I’m excited about having him here,” he said.

“One advantage of bringing in Lamar is that he understands us and we understand who he is. He’s familiar with our offence, he’s familiar with our defence, who we are as a coaching staff and how we operate as an organisation, so I’m confident that will make his transition into the group a quick and smooth one.

Patterson will be an ideal fit to play alongside the likes of newcomer Victor Law who has shouldered a wealth of the work for the Bullets throughout NBL 2021 while his experience to team up with Nathan Sobey and Jason Cadee will be paramount. However Patterson will not be able to play the next three games meaning Jamaal Robateau will take his place on the roster until he is eligible.

NBL21 – Round 9 preview: Broekhoff enters the fray for Phoenix

A MID-TABLE logjam is sure to be somewhat broken up after a blockbuster Round 9 of National Basketball League (NBL) action, when the likes of Brisbane Bullets and Adelaide 36ers go head-to-head, whilst all Victorian and New South Wales battles are set to be matches to watch.

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS vs. CAIRNS TAIPANS
Wednesday, March 10 @ 5pm

The opening game of Round 9 sees a reborn New Zealand Breakers taking on the team they leapfrogged on the table last round in Cairns Taipans. It will be the first of three games in the round for the Breakers who begin to make up for lost games. They will lock horns with Perth Wildcats and South East Melbourne Phoenix with 48-hour turnarounds between games, and will hope to come away with some crucial points. The Breakers lost their last start, but had won their previous two games to be 3-7, four games in hand against a Taipans’ side whose season is slowly slipping away at 4-10.

The Webster brothers have been phenomenal this season from the back court, as Tai Webster is averaging 21.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.2 steals, while Corey Webster has managed 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals. Finn Delany has stepped up and progressed with a double-digit average of 11.4 points to accompany 6.5 rebounds, while import Colton Iverson has similar point and rebound averages, with 7.6 and 7.1 respectively.

For the Taipans, five players average double-digit points this year, and Scott Machado is now leading the way with 17.7 points, 8.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds, teaming up with partner-in-crime Cameron Oliver, who is near a double-double of 16.4 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Kouat Noi, Mirko Djeric and Majok Deng all sit with 10-plus points per game this season and have no issues scoring, but have not been able to get their side over the line often enough.

 

SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX vs. MELBOURNE UNITED
Wednesday, March 10 @ 7.30pm

Top of the table Melbourne United will be aware of a hungry South East Melbourne Phoenix as the two Victorian rivals prepare to go head-to-head again. United dropped their last game to Brisbane Bullets in a shock loss, but still remain well clear of the rest of the competition, with 10 wins from 12 games. The Phoenix have played an extra game, but have not managed to gain consistency, with a 6-7 record and three losses from their past four games. They will finally unleash their not-so-secret weapon in this match though, as NBA talent Ryan Broekhoff is out of quarantine and ready to fire. The long-range shooter is one to watch in this contest as he makes his Phoenix debut.

Outside of Broekhoff, the Phoenix still have Mitch Creek as a danger man, averaging 20.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists and he will form a formidable duo with Broekhoff. Keifer Sykes has missed the last few games, but prior to his exit he was putting up 16.7 points, 6.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds, while Kyle Adnam has stepped up in the absence of Sykes, knocking down 13.9 points and 3.5 assists for the 2021 season.

Jock Landale has been difficult to stop this season, one of only two players to start every game in 2021, averaging 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 blocks. He and Mitch McCarron (11.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.7 steals) are the consistent starters, while the team has really missed Chris Goulding (17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds) of late, but Jack White (9.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 blocks) remains a big man to contain.

 

BRISBANE BULLETS vs. ADELAIDE 36ERS
Thursday, March 11 @ 5pm

Two teams either side of the top four will lock horns on Friday evening when Brisbane Bullets go up against Adelaide 36ers. The Bullets are fresh off a win over Melbourne United, and have suddenly clicked into gear with four wins from five games and in red-hot form. The 36ers snapped a three-game losing streak last game, but sit in fifth with a 7-8 record, desperately needing a win her to keep in touch with the top four considering their extra two games played.

The Bullets monster scoring duo of Nathan Sobey and Victor Law have ensured Brisbane remains a contender, with both players averaging more than 19 points per game. Sobey has put up 23.1 points. 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds, while Law is averaging 19.2 points. 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 blocks for the 2021 season. Matt Hodgson has stepped up into the center position coming off the bench with 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds, teaming up well with Harry Froling (6.0 points, 5.8 rebounds).

Adelaide have struggled since Isaac Humphries went down, and it has seen Daniel Johnson remain as the main man on the scoring front. He has averaged 20.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season, while Tony Crocker (11.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals) is the other double-figure scorers. In the back court, Josh Giddey (9.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.4 steals) and Sunday Dech (9.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals) have both held up their own in the contest.

 

SYDNEY KINGS vs. ILLAWARRA HAWKS
Thursday, March 11 @ 7.30pm

In the later Thursday night match, third placed Illawarra Hawks will lock horns with sixth placed Sydney Kings in another all-New South Wales state battle. The Hawks are three places higher than the Kings, but the Kings are only a win behind with a 6-7 record. If Sydney get up in this match, both sides will sit 7-7 from 14 games in what shapes up as an evenly matched contest.

Casper Ware is the only Kings player to start in every match, putting up 21.2 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds, sharing a similar scoring combination to the Bullets with fellow guard, Dejan Vasiljevic. The Victorian back court player is averaging 19.0 points and 3.6 rebounds this season, while Jarrell Martin has put up 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds at the other end in his limited matches. Brad Newley is one player that has impacted coming off the pine, putting up nine points and five rebounds per game this season.

Illawarra has been fortune with a consistent line-up throughout the year, as three players have started every game, and eight players have taken the court in every match as well. Tyler Harvey (20.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists) and Justinian Jessup (14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists) have been a dominant duo in the back court, while big men, Sam Froling (10.0 points, 6.9 rebounds) and Cameron Bairstow (11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds) have been difficult to stop up front.

 

PERTH WILDCATS vs. NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS
Friday, March 12 @ 5pm

While the Breakers will be coming in for their second of three games for the round, Perth Wildcats will enter Round 9 for the first time on Friday evening. The Wildcats will only play the two games in the week, coming up against Adelaide 36ers on Sunday in the other match. They sit 7-4 from 11 games and need to capitalise on these games if they are to catch United at the top of the NBL ladder, but are sitting pretty in the NBL Cup having won five of their past six games and well on top in that regard.

The reigning back-to-back champions have found players to step up and assist Bryce Cotton (24.5 points. 6.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals), with another import in John Mooney even hitting 30 points, and currently averaging a double-double. The 206cm, 111kg big man is averaging 17.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game, as well as a complete 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks. Todd Blanchfield (14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds) and Mitch Norton (7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists) are other Wildcats who are making waves in season 2021.

 

OTHER GAMES:

CAIRNS TAIPANS vs. SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX
Friday, March 12 @ 7.30pm

BRISBANE BULLETS vs. SYDNEY KINGS
Saturday, March 13 @ 5.30pm

ILLAWARRA HAWKS vs. MELBOURNE UNITED
Saturday, March 13 @ 8pm

NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS vs. SOUTH EAST MELBOURNE PHOENIX
Sunday, March 14 @ 2pm

PERTH WILDCATS vs. ADELAIDE 36ERS
Sunday, March 14 @ 4.30pm

 

Picture credit: Getty Images

Bullets stun Melbourne with a scintillating first term

BRISBANE Bullets claimed their second win in as many days, this time toppling ladder leaders Melbourne United by eight points (96-88). The Bullets have enjoyed a hot run of form defeating Perth Wildcats and now United, proving they can be a force to be reckoned with when they get going.

Brisbane burst out of the blocks, catching Melbourne off guard and ultimately forced the home side to play catchup for the remainder of the game – a feat they could not accomplish. The Bullets simply could not be stopped, nailing the first 10 points of the game while also creating a 19-point lead throughout the opening term to really stamp their authority on the match. Piling on 25 points in the opening term of play compared to Melbourne’s 16, the Bullets had a sense of composure and confidence about them and while play levelled out in the second term with 22 points apiece, the damage had already been done.

With the game teetering on a knife’s edge thanks to the nine-point difference, Melbourne was determined to come back and show the quality outfit that they are. Chris Goulding got busy throughout the quarter with the captain managing four triples while the efforts of Jo Lual-Acuil did not go unnoticed producing his own scoring spree with eight points. Throwing everything they had at them, Brisbane stood tall, able to withstand the barrage of offensive plays and go about their own business. Although costly on the turnover front and shooting at 63 per cent the Bullets were able to once again steal back the leader from the top of the table side and gain the momentum heading into the final term.

With it all to play for in the final passage of the game, Brisbane were eager to steal yet another win off a top side while Melbourne were keen to assert themselves as premiership favourites. The two sides engaged in a real arm-wrestle throughout the fourth, not willing to give an inch but it was the presence of mind from Matt Hodgson that proved to be the difference with the bigman getting busy for the Bullets. He continuously stood up when he needed, finding easy avenues to the basket and therefore adding to the lead. The win means that the Bullets are the only side to-date in the NBL that have defeated both Melbourne and Perth this season.

Goulding was the go-to man for United, paving the way on the scoreboard with a team-high 21 points albeit at 43 per cent from the field. Jock Landale did not disappoint with the center amassing yet another double-double credit to his 18 points and 11 rebound effort. His defensive presence was key throughout the match registering six defensive rebounds and a whopping four blocks while Mitch McCarron made a handy cameo appearance chiming in with 11 points, eight rebound and one steal. Three other players in David Barlow, Lual-Acuil and Yudai Baba all managed eight points apiece but it was not enough to get them over the line against Brisbane.

For the winners, it is no surprise that Hodgson led the charge thanks to his 24 points. Coming off the bench, Hodgson made the most of his court time converting at 62 per cent while also collecting three rebounds, two assists, one steal and a block. He was well supported by veteran Jason Cadee who posted 19 points which accompanied his four rebounds and four assists. Nathan Sobey was not far off the pack producing 17 points in the win and while Victor Law may have been down on his normal points production with 10 for the game, he still managed to have an influence off the boards with a whopping 15 rebounds, 12 of which were defensive.

United now prepare to take on South East Melbourne Phoenix as the Bullets get ready to face Adelaide 36ers and look to keep their two game winning streak intact.

Bullets fire to win over Wildcats

BRISBANE Bullets have held on in an exciting National Basketball League (NBL) game over Perth Wildcats, winning by just three points at John Cain Arena last night. The Bullets won 95-92, starting strongly and then holding off a fierce Wildcats effort at different points throughout the match to grab their sixth win of the season and move to fifth on the table.

Coming into the game, the Bullets needed the win to remain in touch with the top four, while Perth sat second with a 6-3 record and needed a victory to not fall too far behind the top of the table Melbourne United. After four consecutive wins, the Wildcats were on fire, but it was the Bullets who stepped up in the opening term, piling on 29 points to 22 and racing out to a seven-point lead.

Perth hit back in the second term with a 26-23 quarter to cut the deficit to four and it was game on at half-time. The Wildcats have been one of the best performers of the NBL Cup thus far, and might have been expected to run over the top of the Bullets in the second half, but it was Brisbane that held firm in the third term to again extend the lead by a point to five with a quarter to play.

The final term was built up to be a beauty and it did not disappoint, with Bryce Cotton levelling the scores two-and-a-half minutes into the quarter at 77-apiece. Brisbane was quick to add back-to-back baskets and gain some breathing space, but again Cotton found a way to haul his side back into it, trading baskets with Victor Law to level the scores twice more, with 4:17 on the clock. Nathan Sobey‘s three-point jumper was an important one a minute later, and then Anthony Drmic followed suit with 2:20 on the clock – after Cotton made two of three free throws.

John Mooney reduced the deficit to two with a layup as the final two minutes were underway, with Law missing a triple attempt, but then driving a layup with 49 seconds on the clock to extend the lead to four. He then backed up with two successful free throws in the final 20 seconds and it was now a two-possession game. Once again Cotton tried his hardest to drag his team back into it with a triple, but back-to-back free-throws to Sobey with four seconds on the clock sealed the deal. A last second layup to Mooney ended the scores at 95-92 in Brisbane’s favour.

Sobey finished with a massive 31 points – shooting at 61 per cent including four of seven triple attempts – four assists, two rebounds and steal. Law aided him well with 23 points, six rebounds and two assists, while Orlando Johnson chimed in with 13 points, five rebounds, three assists and one block. Drmic (eight points, three rebounds) and Matt Hodgson (eight points, nine rebounds) were busy off the bench.

Cotton racked up 29 points, four assists and two rebounds in a huge effort, while it was the duo of Mooney and Todd Blanchfield that stepped up to have an impact. Mooney (20 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals) and Blanchfield (20 points, five rebounds) both racked up the points, while Clint Steindl (seven points, three rebounds) was effective in his 14 minutes on court.

Neither team have to wait long for their next match with Brisbane taking on Melbourne United tomorrow at 2pm, while Perth face off against Illawarra Hawks from 4.30pm.

Picture credit: AAP

Breakers go back-to-back and hold off Bullets

NEW Zealand Breakers are starting to click into gear, having moved to 3-6 on the National Basketball League (NBL) ladder following their hard-fought five-point win over Brisbane Bullets last night. The Breakers are still two wins adrift from the top seven – sitting in eighth – but have a couple of games in hand compared to their opponents, including the Bullets, who they defeated 97-92.

Following on from their huge win over Adelaide 36ers, the Breakers dominated the first term for a second consecutive match, scoring 27-12 (after 32-6 against the 36ers), to put themselves in prime position early on. The Bullets did come back with a 23-20 second term to cut the deficit to 12 at the main break, but they were up against it with the Webster brothers – Tai and Corey – again having strong nights out.

Brisbane made its move in the third quarter, piling on 31 points to 24, which saw the Bullets almost double their half-time score of 35 in just one quarter. It was back to a single-digit game with a term to play, as the Breakers led by five points into the last. Luckily they would hold on, despite some nervous moments. With 40 seconds on the clock, Anthony Drmic nailed a driving layup to cut the deficit to just three points but as they had all quarter, New Zealand responded with Rasmus Bach deliberately fouled as time ticked down into the final six seconds. He nailed both free throws and the Breakers came away with the win.

Corey Webster was named the Player of the Game for his 21 points, seven rounds and four assists, shooting nine of 14 from the field, and also picking up a steal. Tai Webster aided him in the back court with seven from 13, dropping 19 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Bach came off the bench to score 16 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Colton Iverson (15 points, seven rebounds) and Tom Abercrombie (13 points, six rebounds and two blocks) also hit double-figure points.

For the Bullets, Victor Law knocked back 19 points and 10 rebounds in another standout performance, while Nathan Sobey‘s accuracy was down – just 35 per cent from the field – but he still hit 18 points, and picked up five assists, two steals and a block. Drmic (17 points, four rebounds and two assists) and Jason Cadee (14 points, six assists) also reached double-figures off the bench, but it would not be enough. Harry Froling‘s eight points, seven rebounds and two steals was also notable in the loss.

New Zealand Breakers coach Dan Shamir said it was a “very important” win and different to their triumph over the Kings.

“We had a good game, we started well just like the way we started well with Sydney the game before that,” he said. “It tends to be a very … let’s say games are never easy … and it developed in a way that was very unusual, and today we again started well and knew that it was going to get tougher, and knew that we were going to have some tough moments, that the Bullets would respond, that we’d have to play through it, through some mistakes and therefore it’s good that we did that.”

Brisbane Bullets coach Andrejs Lemanis said going down by 16 points early in the first term was the “key moment” that lost it for his side.

“The way we came out obviously wasn’t good, the last three games New Zealand have come out and sort of dominated teams in the first five or six minutes and it’s something we didn’t do a job of countering and we ended up on our heels for a bit,” he said. “I thought at the offensive end they pushed us out of what we wanted to do, and we settled for some contested shots, didn’t get through what we wanted to get through and that led them to getting out, feeling good about life and they certainly made some shots early as well.

“Some of that might have to do with our defensive coverages as well, but also when you’re not scoring, it’s hard to run back and get your defence set or go ahead and get disrupted up the floor. “That was the key moment, 18-2 in the first five minutes and we slowly worked our way back into the game but that’s not good enough because we didn’t win, it’s coming out with the right mindset obviously.”