THE dominant Perth Wildcats were dealt with two losses in Round 9, but still managed to hold top spot on the ladder. But the two teams they lost to are hot on their heels. Meanwhile, the Illawarra Hawks honoured Indigenous Australians in their loss against the Kings on Sunday.
Perth Wildcats (97) defeated by Sydney Kings (98)
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Wildcats who went down to the Kings at home on Friday night. The scoring was even throughout each quarter, but a poor fourth quarter ultimately led to the Wildcats going down, as they scored 10 points less than the Kings. The battle between Jerome Randle and Bryce Cotton was a thrilling battle, as Randle downed 22 points and four assists while Cotton sunk 26 points, four rebounds and four assists. Andrew Bogut (six points, six rebounds) was outdone by the Perth big men, Nicholas Kay (17 points, nine rebounds) and Angus Brandt (12 points, 11 rebounds), but the former Golden State star had good support from his teammates which ultimately led to the win. Daniel Kickert and David Wear each scored 18 points for the Kings, while Kevin Lisch contributed well with the equal highest amount of assists for Sydney (four) and 14 points.
Brisbane Bullets (91) defeated by Adelaide 36ers (101)
Coming off two wins against reigning champions, Melbourne United, Brisbane was in a good position to take the win at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. But the Bullets were outdone by the rejuvenated Adelaide 36ers, who are on a mission to improve their 2018/19 campaign. The 36ers came out of the blocks firing before the Bullets evened up the scoring in the second and third quarters. But in the last, Adelaide outscored the home side by 10 points, which ended up being the final winning margin. Nathan Sobey was back to his dominant best, scoring 24 points, six rebounds and three assists. Daniel Johnson dominated on the boards, gathering a team-high eight boards to go along with his 20 points and four assists. Brisbane’s Matt Hodgson outdone Johnson on the rebounds through, pulling down a game-high 10 to go along with his 11 points and three assists. Star recruit, Lamar Patterson tied with Nathan Sobey for the most points, scoring 24 himself to go complement his seven rebounds and game-high six assists. Patterson is proving to be a pivotal player for the Bullets, but his side just could not get it done against a fired up 36ers outfit.
Illawarra Hawks (68) defeated by Sydney Kings (83)
The Kings got the opportunity to participate in a sentimental match where the Illawarra Hawks recognised Indigenous Australians. The Hawks came out determined to win, going into the first break one point down. Their solid defence continued into the second quarter, restricting the Kings to 18 points. But after that, Sydney scored above 20 points in each of the third and fourth quarters, leading to a comprehensive win. Kevin Lisch led the way for the winning side with 16 points, while Brad Newley and David Wear pitched in with 13. Dominant guard, Jerome Randle was held in check by the Hawks, managing nine points and shooting just 25 per cent from the field. But Illawarra’s highest point scorers only scored three more points than Randle, with Todd Blanchfield and Jordair Jett topping the Hawks’ points scorer with 12 points. The Hawks were solid on the boards though with Andrew Ogilvy pulling down six boards and Brian Conklin grabbing eight. But Andrew Bogut led all-comers in that department, grabbing a game-high 11 rebounds to fo with his 10 points.
Cairns Taipans (78) defeated by New Zealand Breakers (89)
Two struggling teams went head-to-head on Sunday, with the Breakers coming out on top in a tight battle. Cairns went into the first break with a one-point lead before New Zealand fought back with a 26-19 second quarter to open up a half-time lead. The Taipans then got on the front foot in the third term with a 26-17 point, reversing the trend of the second quarter. But a 27-13 fourth term from the Breakers helped them put the game away and seal an important win in the context of their season. Jarrad Weeks was the leading contributor for the Breakers with 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. Shawn Long wasn’t far off with 16 points and 13 rebounds, earning himself a valuable double-double. Melo Trimble was back to his best with 23 points, two rebounds and six assists, getting the most points on the court. He was complemented by partner-in-crime, Devon Hall, who collected 14 points and seven rebounds for Cairns.
Melbourne United (82) defeated Perth Wildcats (65) Melbourne United fought back from last week’s two losses to Brisbane in almighty style, beating fellow championship favourites, Perth in a convincing Victory at Melbourne Arena. A powerful third quarter from the reigning champions blew this game wide open, as United held the Wildcats to just six points while scoring 23 of their own. Perth fought back in the last quarter, outscoring the home side by one, but it wasn’t enough to salvage what would have been an important win. Chris Goulding rediscovered his championship form with 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists, leading in points for the game. Dominant guard, Casper Ware wasn’t far off, as he gathered 18 points, five rebounds and two assists. United were outdone in the rebounds department by Perth big man, Nicholas Kay, who collected 12 rebounds to fo with his team-high 15 points. He was well complemented by Mitch Norton, who scored 12 points and two assists.