NBL 2013/14: Round 22 Wrap

What a week in the NBL! Some high flying jams, comeback kings and results that will see us through to the final round before signing off on the top four. Check it all out below, in our Round 22 Wrap.

Breakers extinguish Kings early hopes

As the attention turned towards the Sydney Kings this week who have their finals fate in their own hands, it was the New Zealand Breakers who claimed the early scalp of Sydney to kick start round 22 of the NBL with a enforcing 105-78 demolition.

Behind an energised Gary Wilkinson (30 points, 6 rebounds) and a resilient as always C.J. Bruton (14 points) who hit the hardwood floors of North Shore for the final time, were the leaders of the Breakers pack saluting their team into a rhythm they never let go of.

Despite a sub-par first quarter with the teams scoring 13 points apiece, it was in the second term when the game started to break open a little bit, including a brilliant one on one show between two perennial big men of the competition in Wilkinson and A.J. Ogilvy.

As Ogilvy (23 points, 8 rebounds) was finding great positions inside, it was Wilkinson who stood up with 16 second quarter points to give the home side a narrow four point margin to take into the main break.

From the restart, it was C.J. Bruton’s floor, scoring nine straight points to give the Breakers a lead they would never look back on. While the ghosts of last week’s game against Melbourne were in the back of New Zealand’s minds (a 14 point lead to lose by 13), there was no time for that to happen, especially when the Kings kept coughing the ball over nearly every possession.

Sydney’s 19 turnovers were very alarming, including Sam Young’s six turnovers despite registering 25 points and 13 rebounds.

Jesse Sanders continued his horrid run of form, with just six points on 1-6FG shooting including donuts in the assist column.

The Kings bench was also a major disappointment with none of the reserves really finding their feet throughout the contest, shooting a combined 3-12 from the field.

As the home side poured in 38 fourth quarter points, the game was done and dusted as Kerron Johnson found himself with a double double (10 points, 10 assists) for his efforts.

Sydney must now lick their wounds before a big clash with the second placed Adelaide 36ers at the Kingdome, while the Breakers, who still have a mathematical chance at fourth place, must defeat Cairns next week at Vector Arena.

Sixers extinguish ‘Cats in top of table clash

Behind a balanced four quarter effort and having no reliance on any one player, the Adelaide 36ers have cruised to a bullish twenty three point win against league leaders Perth Wildcats on Friday night 102-79.

It was evident early on of the Sixers intensions to exact vengeance on their opponents as their most recent defeat to the title favourites didn’t go exactly to plan.

As Adelaide locked away second spot on the NBL ladder, they did it in convincing fashion behind a number of key names.

Gary Ervin (17 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) and Mitch Creek (9 points, 3 rebounds) started the flurry of points the Sixers were able to pour in throughout the first half, while it was big man Luke Schenscher (12 points, 11 rebounds) who was providing the Wildcats headaches with his inside dominance, registering a massive eight offensive rebounds.

While the Sixers executed early on, it was the ‘Cats that could never really get going, failing to trouble Adelaide’s stinging defence. Shooting a dismal 33% from the field for the game, they were no match for the home side’s long range bombs as the Sixers managed 13 three pointers from just 21 attempts.

The usual names for Perth had some sort of an impact after half time, with Jermaine Beal (17 points, 5 assists), James Ennis (16 points, 7 rebounds) and Matt Knight (14 points, 8 rebounds) trying to peg back Adelaide’s 15 point advantage after twenty minutes.

However, it was let down by poor shooting from the likes of Drake U’u (2 points, 0-7FG) and Greg Hire (0 points, 0-6FG) which allowed the home side to stretch their lead.

Adelaide weathered Perth’s third quarter storm well and ended up finishing just as fast as their started, piling on a 15-3 run which ended with a sweet alley-oop from Ervin to Anthony Petrie (13 points, 6 rebounds).

The Sixers head to Sydney to face the Kings in their second last game of the season, while Perth now wait for Wollongong next week in the Perth Arena.

Goulding powers Tigers in Cairns

In what was a physical Melbourne Tigers tussle that we’ve seen many times throughout the 2013/14 NBL season, Chris Goulding was once again able to lead his team to a 73-66 victory over the Cairns Taipans.

Goulding, who took nearly half of his team’s field goal attempts, had the game under control for the first three quarters before using an extra bit of gas during the fourth to chalk up a victory.

With 29 points on 10-24FGwith six rebounds to go along, Goulding was pure shooting in a game that lacked any sort of offensive momentum.

He was joined in the fourth quarter by fellow streak shooter Adam Ballinger, who managed 13 points of his own to determine the result.

For the home side, Demetri McCamey was entered into the line-up to replace Jamar Wilson who was a late withdrawal due to knee soreness. He slotted into Wilson’s role very nicely with 12 points and a team high seven assists.

Matt Burston led the team in scoring with 15; while Alex Loughton (11 points, 11 rebounds) had the games only double double.

As the sluggish nature of the game started from the tip and was fluent throughout, the margin either team could relish early was erased at every occasion. With 15 lead changes in the first three quarters, the home side had always thought they were a chance of upsetting the third placed Tigers.

However it all fell apart in the final quarter, as the hosts were unable to register a single point during the opening six minutes of the fourth which allowed both Goulding and Ballinger to find easy points at the other end.

This Melbourne run then stretched the lead out to double digits, a lead they would never relinquish.

The Tigers will now travel to Adelaide next weekend, while Cairns head across the ditch in search for a final win of the season against the Breakers.

Comeback Hawks keep season alive in Townsville

Off the back of both Rhys Martin and Rotnei Clarke, the Wollongong Hawks have turned a ten point fourth quarter deficit into a nine point win as they defeated the Townsville Crocodiles 94-85 on Friday night.

The now fourth placed Hawks, who are looking down the barrel of what was an improbable playoff spot not so long ago, were led by their Martin/Clarke duo down the stretch as they rallied to score or assist on Wollongong’s last 25 points.

Martin finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists with most of his work coming up big in the final term. Clarke on the other hand was quiet for the first three quarters, until he was the second spark to finish with 23 points and 6 assists.

In what was an emotional game for Crocs players and fans combined, Russell Hinder finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds in his final game inside the Swamp. Josh Pace led the team in scoring with 20, along with 8 rebounds and 5 dimes.

An entertaining opening quarter saw the home side hold a seven point lead. Townsville never let up either when Hinder’s 11 opening half points saw them dive into the second half with a considerable 13 point lead.

Todd Blanchfield (10 points, 8 rebounds) made the third quarter his to remember with a sweet dunk off a nice dish, which kept the home side with a sustainable lead.

However it wasn’t enough once Martin and Clarke entered the fray, silencing Crocs fans throughout the building in a display that will be mentioned all week.

Despite 20 more field goal attempts by the Crocs, it was their defence that let them down, allowing the visitors to shoot 56% from the floor including 13 triples at 57%. Townsville’s only managed to get to the free throw line 4 times compared to the Hawks’ 16.

Wollongong face Sydney next week in what will be game of the round as it could possibly decide fourth place. The Crocs go to Sydney in search for a win against the Kings.

Kings rock Sixers behind silky Sanders

Thanks to a four quarter display from Jesse Sanders, the Sydney Kings were able to secure a 100-90 victory over the Adelaide 36ers at the Kingdome on Sunday.

Sanders was electric, doing anything and everything at both ends of the floor as the energised point guard scored 24 points to go along with 10 rebounds and near triple double eight assists.

He certainly wasn’t alone in Sydney’s success, as the Kings were once down 15 points in the second quarter in a time where the Sixers loomed to kill Sydney’s dream of playoff basketball.

From there the Kings piled on 19 unanswered points off the back of sharpshooter Ben Madgen (31 points, 3 steals) to turn the tables on their opponents and take a two point lead into half time.

Sam Young (18 points, 2 steals) and A.J. Ogilvy (21 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks) were instrumental in the second quarter blitz which steered the game into Sydney’s favour throughout, which included two thunderous Young rim rattlers.

For the visitors it was once again Daniel Johnson leading from the front, scoring 23 points and six rebounds at an efficient clip. Gary Ervin chimed in with 20 of his own, which Luke Schenscher provided inside presense with 10 points and seven rebounds.

While Adam Gibson was unavailable due to injuring his ankle in the previous game, it was the Sixers back-ups that couldn’t quite get into the game. Jason Cadee shot 25% from the floor along with four turnovers, while Rhys Carter couldn’t muster up much better with 3-8FG shooting.

The Kings head to Wollongong for game one of two next week, which will surely decide the fourth and final playoff spot for the 2013/14 NBL season. Adelaide face Melbourne in what will be a game where neither team shows their hand before a fierce playoff series the following week.

Round 22 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 106 (Wilkinson 30, Bruton 14, Abercrombie 14) Sydney Kings 78 (Ogilvy 25, Young 24, Madgen 13) Attendance: 3,279 @ North Shore Events Centre

Adelaide 36ers 102 (Johnson 19, Ervin 17, Gibson 17) Perth Wildcats 79 (Beal 17, Ennis 16, Knight 14) Attendance: 6,253 @ Adelaide Arena

Cairns Taipans 66 (Burston 15, McCamey 12, Loughton 11) Melbourne Tigers 73 (Goulding 29, Ballinger 13, Morrison 8) Attendance: N/A @ Cairns Convention Centre

Townsville Crocodiles 85 (Pace 20, Hinder 18, Blanchfield 10) Wollongong Hawks 94 (Clarke 23, Forman 16, Martin 15) Attendance: 3,678 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre

Sydney Kings 100 (Madgen 31, Sanders 24, Ogilvy 21) Adelaide 36ers 90 (Johnson 23, Ervin 20, Schenscher 10) Attendance: 3,746 @ QANTAS Credit Union Arena