The 4 Point Play: Trouble in the Kingdom
Round 3 of the NBL was another wild one, as we saw upsets a plenty and the return of the physical play the competition has been known for. And for the third week running we saw the pressure continue to mount on Andrew Gaze and the Sydney Kings.
Here are my four key points from Round 3.
1 | The Kingdom is crumbling
After picking up a nice win over rivals Illawarra last weekend, the Kings crashed in Round 3, getting blown away by New Zealand on Thursday night, 90 - 73 and then getting absolutely demolished in Adelaide on Saturday, 114 - 84. But it is not just the score lines which have Kings fans up in arms.
The team certainly hasn't performed up to expectations and it seems as though the players and coaching staff have given up on each other. Coach Andrew Gaze has been praised by the media for his brutal honesty in his post game press conferences, but Gaze has continually thrown his players under the bus for not playing hard enough or following the game plan. How about some self-reflection Coach? What can you do to improve the game plan or performance?
I am not saying that the players don't deserve some blame for how the 2017-18 season has started for the Kings because we all know it is the players who have to perform. What I am saying is that coaching through the media has never worked out well for teams. Sydney would be best served trying to fix things behind closed doors because if things don't change soon the Kings could implode.
2 | Melbourne goes 0 fer the weekend
The hype train was at full speed after Melbourne United went into Oklahoma City and nearly toppled the mighty Thunder then backed that up with a 99 - 79 mauling of the 36ers in Adelaide. But the train came to a screeching halt this past weekend.
First up for United was a trip to Perth to take on the defending champions in the most anticipated matchup of the season thus far. Boosting the hype was the return to the court for gunslinger Chris Goulding as well as Casey Prather's return to Perth as the opposition.
The Wildcats were not very welcoming to Prather and United, pulling out the 89 - 84 win. Perth put the clamps on Prather in this one as United continued it struggles out west.
But the next game was most disappointing as New Zealand spoiled United's home opener, taking down Melbourne 88 - 76. The Breakers backcourt of Edgar Sosa and DJ Newbill dominated United's more vaunted tandem of Casper Ware and Chris Goulding, outscoring them 32 - 13.
Not writing United off at all...they are way too talented to do that, but let's just hold off on crowning them champions just yet.
3 | Cairns/Perth, Brisbane/Illawarra get physical
I am not one to condone physical violence...but how good was it to see a little pushing and shoving over the weekend?!?
In Illawarra, we saw Adam Gibson with a good old-fashioned hard foul on Nick Kay turn into a bit of a skirmish between both teams. Big Tom Jervis was in the thick of it, doing his best to get his hands on Hawks import Demitrius Conger.
And in Cairns, we saw Taipans import Michael Carrera get tangled up with Wildcats import Derek Cook Jr while battling for a rebound, and some how Jarrad Weeks got headlocked by JP Tokoto.
Thankfully cooler heads prevailed...but man, it was good to see teams getting after each other!
4 | Hawks and Bullets pick up their first wins
I don't think anyone thought the Hawks or Bullets would go an entire season without winning a game, but I think everyone was a little surprised to find both teams with a doughnut in the win column heading into Round 3. Seems as though all they needed was a little bit of home cooking.
Brisbane played their first home game of the year, picking up the win versus Sunshine State rivals Cairns Taipans 83 - 78. Tom Jervis was the focal point early for the Bullets then import Perrin Buford took over. The forward out of Decatur, Alabama put on an aerial display in front of the home fans throwing down 3 huge dunks and a few crushing blocks to get the crowd pumping.
The tide would turn a couple of days later, as Brisbane were the visitors for the Hawks home opener, which Illawarra would win, 105 - 96, meaning every team has at least one win on the season.
Things looked a bit dicey for the Hawks as they trailed 55 - 45 at halftime. Illawarra came out guns blazing in the 3rd however, winning the quarter 39 - 16 on their way to the win.
Coach Rob Beveridge reinserted Rotnei Clarke into the starting lineup and Clare rewarded his coach's faith by totalling 26 points to go with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Will this be the spark to get the Hawks back flying? Only time will tell.
Well, those are my four key points from Round 3 of the NBL, and I didn't even get to the officating this time, but we can always chat about that one another time.
What were your key points from Round 3 of the NBL?