Two losses to Perth- to the cellar-dwelling Kings, no less- drop the Wildcats to fourth on the ladder. Meanwhile, Adelaide continues to roll.
The Adelaide 36ers end week 15 of the season on a seven-game winning streak and in second place on the NBL ladder, after back-to-back wins against the Illawarra Hawks.
Adelaide beat the Hawks 112-90 in front of a delighted home crowd on Friday night, winning every quarter. The Sixers’ Australian contingent led the scoring with Nathan Sobey scoring 25 points on 11/14 shooting, and Daniel Johnson posting 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The two teams then travelled to Wollongong for the return game on Sunday, but the result was much the same. Despite a 31-point haul from Hawks import Demetrius Conger, Adelaide downed the Hawks again 112-93 and moved to 15-8 on the season. Shannon Shorter led the visitors with 22 points.
Adelaide is now just behind Melbourne United, who remain on top of the NBL ladder despite losing their only game of the round 98-81 in New Zealand. The Breakers dominated for most of Thursday’s game, winning the first half 60-41, and withstood a third-quarter flurry by United to record the win. Four players finished in double figures in scoring for New Zealand, with Kirk Penney scoring 17 points off the bench. Chris Goulding had 21 for Melbourne.
The Breakers would split their weekend, losing 81-71 to the Taipans in Cairns on Saturday night. Cairns trailed at three-quarter time but dominated the fourth quarter, winning the term 27-14 to power to the victory. Taipans guard Cam Gliddon scored 10 of his 20 points in the final term, part of 18 unanswered points by the home team to secure the win. Import forward DJ Newbill led the Breakers with 25.
United would also split their weekend, travelling to Brisbane and securing a win against the Bullets on Saturday afternoon. The Bullets had a significant advantage in the foul count, with Melbourne committing 11 more fouls and giving up a whopping 36 free-throw attempts. But the Bullets’ defence let them down, United piling on 38 points in the third quarter to build what would be a game-winning lead. Perrin Buford had 21 points to lead Brisbane, while Casper Ware Jr had 22 for Melbourne.
The upsets of the round both went to the Sydney Kings; the Kings remain bottom of the ladder but won both of their week 15 games against a lacklustre Perth Wildcats outfit. Amazingly, Perth never led in this game and the 7-point final margin flatters them somewhat; the Kings jumped out to a 20-11 first-quarter lead, and had extended the lead to 19 points on the back of a 14-0 run in the final quarter before the Cats added some respectability in garbage time. Sydney had five players in double figures, led by 19 points from import guard Jerome Randle.
The Kings followed that up on Sunday afternoon in front of their home fans, stonewalling the Wildcats’ offence to win 84-56. Sydney were far more aggressive on offence, but remained efficient, conceding just 4 turnovers for the game to Perth’s 15; at the other end, Perth shot just 32% from the field, including just 5/26 from three-point range. The 56-point tally is Perth’s lowest since the 1982 season and the lowest game tally by any team this season.
New Zealand Breakers 98 (Penney 17 Sosa 16 Abercrombie 13) defeated Melbourne United 81 (Goulding 21 Ware 20 Boone 12) at North Shore Events Centre, Auckland.
Adelaide 36ers 112 (Sobey 25 Johnson 17 Childress 14) defeated Illawarra Hawks 90 (Clarke 17 Conger 16 Coenraad 15) at Titanium Security Arena, Adelaide.
Sydney Kings 84 (Randle 19 Cadee 14 Lisch 13) defeated Perth Wildcats 77 (Tokoto 20 Cotton 17 Kenny 12) at Perth Arena.
Melbourne United 105 (Ware 22 Goulding 21 Wesley 16) defeated Brisbane Bullets 98 (Buford 21 Trice 14 Gibson 13) at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Cairns Taipans 81 (Gliddon 20 Smith 12 Evans 11) defeated New Zealand Breakers 71 (Newbill 25 Ili 14 Abercrombie 9) at Cairns Convention Centre.
Sydney Kings 84 (Ellis 20 Cadee 15 Randle 12) defeated Perth Wildcats 56 (Cotton 14 Kenney 10 Walker 9) at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney.
Adelaide 36ers 112 (Shorter 22 Creek 21 Childress 20) defeated Illawarra Hawks 93 (Conger 31 Kay 14 Martin 10) at WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong.