NBL 2013/14: Round 12 Wrap

Round 12 of the NBL saw another Rotnei Clarke display, while the Melbourne Tigers sustained their brilliant form which sets them up for a big clash next week!

Cairns roll on, come from behind to jump above the Kings

The Cairns Taipans have clinched fourth spot on the 2013/14 NBL ladder after an exciting, come from behind 73-62 victory over the Sydney Kings at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on Friday night.

Sydney burst out of the gates off the back of Sam Young who looked to produce a statement game after declaring earlier in the week that he hadn’t been playing up to his personal standards. Young (17 points, 6 rebounds) scored ten first quarter points, most included in their 16-1 run which ultimately gave them a double digit lead at the first break.

From then on it seemed as if the visitors woke up and realised that they were in for a bigger test than expected, as the Kings managed to kill all types of offence mainly thanks to A.J. Ogilvy’s (6 points, 4 steals, 2 blocks) impressive first half on the defensive end.

As the Snakes started to find some rhythm, coach Aaron Fearne would have been pleased to see Stephen Weigh (14 points) getting his form back in order as he knocked down two big buckets prior to half time which erased Sydney’s 15 point lead to just four at the main break.

While Alex Loughton was kept quiet throughout the night, shooting just 4 of 12 from the field due to Ogilvy’s stifling defence, it was his teammates that did the job in the third quarter, mainly Jamar Wilson leading the charge. Finding ways to get himself to the line, Wilson (15 points) managed to draw ten fouls on his opponents which saw him shoot ten free throws, knocking down two clinical ones with 5:12 remaining in the third which gave the Taipans their first lead.

The visitors never looked back, giving the Kings a load of trouble on the offensive end during the final period, who ended up shooting only 38% for the contest. The difference in rebounding certainly differed in the final quarter, with Cairns pulling down 13 more than the home side.

Cairns venture south for a meeting with the Melbourne Tigers to end the round, while the Kings look to bounce back with a road game against the Sixers which looks to be a tough match-up during their hot streak.

Tigers jump Crocs for fifth straight win

The Melbourne Tigers have continued a purple patch of form with their fifth straight win coming in a 95-77 demolition of Townsville on Friday night.

The Tigers jumped out to a 17-point halftime lead and were never headed, holding off a late run from the home side that brought the game to within seven points with three minutes remaining.

For the visitors it was again Chris Goulding (26 points, 5 assists) who stole the show, connecting on five triples to continue a very impressive season for the MVP candidate.

The visitors led by 16 early after a barrage of three-pointers by Lucas Walker (18 points, 9 rebounds, 5-6 3PT) and Goulding, before the deficit was cut to ten at the break as the Crocs finally got going late in the first term.

The second term brought much of the same, with Mustapha Farrakhan (12 points) and Adam Ballinger (11 points) continuing the hot start from beyond the arc, effectively ending the game after 20 minutes as the Tigers took a very healthy double-digit lead into the second half.

Todd Blanchfield (10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) did everything he could for the home side despite some poor shooting (2-10 FG), while veterans Steven Markovic (11 points) and Jacob Holmes (13 points) also worked hard to no avail in the second half.

Brian Conklin (4 points) was plagued by foul trouble and only managed 17 minutes in a huge blow; particularly given fellow import Josh Pace missed his second straight game with a hand injury.

Melbourne shot an outrageous 18-29 from deep, compared to 9-32 for the Crocs in what was the biggest difference maker on the night, while the assist count showed 21-9 in the Tigers favour as well.

The Crocs will look to bounce back with a home-home double against Perth next weekend starting in Perth on Friday night, while the Tigers will host the Breakers on Friday night to end a busy stretch of games for them.

Hawks shock ‘Cats in OT thriller

Rotnei Clarke has lit up once more to lead his Wollongong Hawks to a thrilling 96-91 overtime victory over Perth on Saturday night, condemning the Wildcats to their second straight loss and third of the season.

Clarke (28 points, 7 assists, 6-10 3PT) was unstoppable all night, with his combination of dead-eye shooting and pin-point passing too hot for the ‘Cats to handle as he played all 45 minutes of the game.

The Hawks started strongly and signalled their intent early, letting the visitors know that this would be no 40-point blowout after their capitulation in Perth earlier in the season.

Wollongong extended their four-point halftime lead to nine points by the third break, before the Wildcats mounted a huge charge to send the game into an extra period.

With the Hawks leading by nine points heading into the final term and with a huge upset brewing, Jesse Wagstaff (20 points, 5 rebounds, 7-11 FG) stepped it up as Jermaine Beal (16 points) struggled to get going, cutting the lead despite Clarke’s brilliance at the other end.

With 30 seconds remaining Beal finally broke the shackles for a basket which put his side in front, before Kevin Tiggs (14 points, 5 steals) answered and Rhys Martin made both at the line after a failed potential game-winner from James Ennis (25 points, 8 rebounds).

Despite struggling for much of the second half, Ennis then re-discovered his early hot shooting form to bury a three-point bomb to send the game into overtime.

The home side took a lead into every change, with Clarke getting plenty of help from fellow import Tiggs and Larry Davidson (10 points, 8 rebounds) all night, with the latter two firing in the extra five minutes to build a lead for the home side once more.

Ennis continued to struggle with his shot before fouling out with just over two minutes remaining and with his side trailing by four, and despite their best efforts the ‘Cats simply couldn’t close the gap as the Hawks wouldn’t be denied.

Wollongong will travel to Cairns to take on the Taipans next Saturday night, while Perth will play Townsville twice in a home-home double beginning on Friday night and finishing on Sunday in north Queensland.

Adelaide squeeze life out of New Zealand in statement to competition

From the first minute of the game it loomed to be a long night for the visiting New Zealand Breakers as the Adelaide 36ers stormed out to a double digit lead in the opening quarter and never looked back in their 99-73 win on Saturday night.

It took no longer than two minutes for the home side to break away on a devastating 16 to 2 run which broke the game open on the back of Daniel Johnson’s (26 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) inside presence alongside the tall timber of Luke Schenscher (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Anthony Petrie (10 points, 13 rebounds).

You could tell from the onset that the Breakers were well and truly missing big man Alex Pledger, who missed another crucial game through injury. However, the Sixers were also short-handed, with the absence of former MVP Gary Ervin, Adelaide were able to put the Breakers off their game and gave them nightmares on the offensive end.

Shooting 39% for the game, in comparison to 50% for the Sixers, the rebound count was a monstrous 52-29 in favour of the home team.

While Thomas Abercrombie (24 points, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks) found some much needed form, he was unable to weather any storm as Adelaide powered through any attempt at a comeback.

The Sixers did not lose a quarter in their romp of what was seen to be an ‘in-form’ Breakers, in front of a season high 6,676 people for an Adelaide home game.

New Zealand were left speechless and even lost key players as both captain Mika Vukona and Reuben Te Rangi had early showers, both fouling out in their limited minutes, shooting a combined 3 of 11 in the process.

The Sixers remain at home for the week as they wait to take on the Sydney Kings who are in dire need for win to put their season back on track. New Zealand head to Melbourne to take on the red-hot Tigers in what’s could provide match of the round.

Tigers break Cairns hot streak behind Ballinger’s late flurry

A shooting outburst from Adam Ballinger late in the fourth quarter gave the Melbourne Tigers a big home win over the Cairns Taipans Sunday at the Cage 76-66.

Ballinger (19 points) hit a sweet little fade-away, followed by two daggers from deep in a total of 15 points for the quarter to put the game beyond doubt, despite the Snakes effort to keep the margin respectable.

While the game didn’t live up to total expectation between to in-form sides during the opening three quarters, the Tigers set the pace early despite both teams shooting poorly. Despite questionable refereeing decisions, the hustle between the two teams certainly wasn’t missing, with Mark Worthington (11 points, 8 rebounds) leading by example.

As the Taipans caught the friendly rims in the second term, they managed to take a three point lead into the break, due to the solid play by Matt Burston (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Cameron Gliddon (9 points, 5 rebounds).

Chris Goulding (18 points) was once again quite during the first two quarters, but managed to turn up the heat in the third, finding more tough jumpers to knock down. Melbourne broke the game open to lead by eight at the final change.

Cairns led the charge to start the fourth which gave the Melbourne faithful a scare, however Ballinger’s heroics with the help of Mustapha Farrakhan’s (14 points) brilliant steal and score erased the nerves of the home fans to seal victory.

Jamar Wilson (13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) was the standout for the visitors during the second half, including a clever and-1 to end the contest.

The Tigers face another short break as they take on the New Zealand Breakers next Friday night in what should be another packed Cage, while the Snakes will look to bounce back with a win against the Wollongong Hawks at home the night after.

Round 12 Summary

Sydney Kings 62 (Young 17, Carmouche 10, Ellis 9) Cairns Taipans 73 (Wilson 15, Weigh 14, McCamey 13) Attendance: 3,816 @ Sydney Entertainment Centre

Townsville Crocodiles 77 (Holmes 13, Hinder 12, Markovic 11) Melbourne Tigers 95 (Goulding 26, Walker 18, Farrakhan 12) Attendance: 3,044 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre

Wollongong Hawks 96 (Clarke 28, Tiggs 14, Coenraad 13) Perth Wildcats 91 (Ennis 25, Wagstaff 20, Beal 16) Attendance: 2,134 @ Wollongong Entertainment Centre

Adelaide 36ers 99 (Johnson 26, Creek 20, Schenscher 13) New Zealand Breakers 73 (Abercrombie 24, Wilkinson 13, Webster 11) Attendance: 6,676 @ Adelaide Arena

Melbourne Tigers 76 (Ballinger 19, Goulding 18, Farrakhan 14) Cairns Taipans 66 (Wilson 13, Steindl 12, Burston 11) Attendance: 3,500 @ State Netball & Hockey Centre