NBL 2013/14: Round 4 Wrap

Round 4 gave us a number of heroes with some huge performances in games that went all the way down to the wire, while the Perth juggernaut rolled on once again in an ominous sign for the league. Let’s take a look back at the round that was.

Ervin, Adelaide stall Breakers comeback

The Adelaide 36ers have won a topsy-turvy encounter against the New Zealand Breakers in Auckland 96-93 on Thursday night. The visitors got themselves off to a hot start thanks to Adam Gibson (15 points), who scored 11 points in the first quarter alone and controlled the contest for the entire first half.

The second quarter fired up the two teams and became heated. A play that involved Mitch Creek attempting a dunk resulted in both Mika Vukona and B.J. Anthony being ejected after Vukona intentionally pushed Creek off his dunk attempt which saw Anthony come in to remonstrate and was sent packing as well.

Jarrid Frye (18 points) and Gary Ervin (22 points, 6 assists) continued the onslaught to begin the second half, until Reuben Te Rangi (22 points) provided a massive spark off the bench as he was given extended minutes due to Vukona’s absence.

It seemed like Te Rangi couldn’t miss from distance nailing four jumpers from beyond the arc which ultimately led to the Breakers tying the game mid-way through the final period. Te Rangi had help from his starters during the fourth quarter to keep pace with the Sixers as Alex Pledger (16 points, 7 rebounds) and Kerron Johnson (17 points, 8 assists, 7 rebounds) made sure the Breakers weren’t going to 1-4 without a fight.

However it was Corey Webster (14 points) that kept them a touch off the Sixers down the stretch, until Ervin stole the show with his deadly mid-range jump shots.

Thomas Abercrombie struggled yet again with foul trouble, while the return of Gary Wilkinson ended with a disqualification as he fouled out of the game.

Adelaide fly home to see the Kings in town, while New Zealand fly across to Wollongong to face the Hawks with both games being played on Sunday.

Carmouche lights up as Kings pip Crocs

Charles Carmouche has lifted his Sydney Kings to a much needed 88-86, nail-biting win over the Crocodiles in Townsville. Through the first three rounds Carmouche was well documented as a player who needed to lift to switch his season into gear, and that he did with a 33 point domination which included five triples along with five rebounds and three assists.

The Crocs seemed to be done and dusted as the home side was 13 points down early in the final quarter, until Mitch Norton (12 points) knocked down his only two field goals of the night, both being from distance to storm Townsville back into contention.

Todd Blanchfield (14 points, 6 rebounds) took over from Norton and put the Crocs in front by six and it didn’t look as if the Kings had any answers down the stretch.

However it was Carmouche’s heroics that tied the game and created a worry for the home fans once more. Trying to carry his team on his shoulders, Carmouche demanded help from his teammates and Brad Hill (15 points) came to his aid.

Hill hit a floating tear-drop with only seconds remaining to clinch the road victory in amazing fashion.

The role players were there throughout the four quarters, with A.J. Ogilvy (17 points, 10 rebounds) finding great position which led to open looks during the middle two quarters. For the home side, Josh Pace (18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Brian Conklin (19 points) both supplied their duties in the losing effort.

Despite the close margin and the Crocs never ceasing to give up, the night belonged to Charles Carmouche who was fittingly due for a breakout game, and this is exactly what head coach Shane Heal expected from him when he signed the guard at the beginning of the season.

The Kings face Adelaide away to close the round, while Townsville remain at home to wait for the visiting New Zealand Breakers next week.

‘Cats demolish Hawks to stay perfect

The Perth Wildcats have completed blown away the visiting Wollongong Hawks on Friday night, recording a crushing 87-47 victory at Perth Arena.

The Hawks led 4-3 after two minutes before the onslaught began, with a first-quarter three point barrage ensuring the game was over at quarter time as the Wildcats took a 30-11 lead into the break.

Led by Jermaine Beal (21 points, 5-9 3PT) and Damian Martin (16 points, 6-6 FG, 4 assists, 3 steals) the home side won every term emphatically while locking down the Hawks on defence and allowing them nowhere to move.

Amazingly, James Ennis (17 points, 9 rebounds) didn’t score in the entire first half before finishing strongly in the second half.

For the Hawks it was a night to forget, with just Oscar Forman (12 points) finishing the game in double figures. Rotnei Clarke (7 points, 3-13 FG, 4 turnovers) continued his inconsistent start to life in the NBL after a strong performance last week, while fellow import Kevin Tiggs (6 points) also struggled.

The Hawks shot just 30% from the field and 24% from the arc, compared to 46% and 50% respectively for Perth, while the ‘Cats smashed the Hawks on the glass 47-26 and held an 18-8 advantage in the assist column in an emphatic victory in every sense of the word.

Perth will have a well-deserved break with a bye next week, while Wollongong will return home to host the struggling Breakers on Sunday.

Goulding catches fire as Tigers upset Snakes

Chris Goulding has put on a shooting display for the ages as the Melbourne Tigers overcame a slow start to run all over the Cairns Taipans, recording an 86-74 victory on Saturday night.

Goulding (34 points, 5 rebounds) was superb, catching fire in the third quarter, with a run of 12 points in six minutes breaking the game open after both teams traded baskets and leads for the majority of the first half.

After a tense first half, which saw the Tigers take a four point lead into the main break, they used a 25-16 third term to set up the victory which sees their record improve to 2-2 with their second straight win.

Mark Worthington (13 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists) also made a valuable contribution in a performance which saw six players reach at least nine points.

For the Snakes, Jamar Wilson (17 points, 4 rebounds) again led the way and continued his strong start to the season, while Stephen Weigh (10 points, 2-3 3PT) showed glimpses of breaking free from his early season shooting slump.

Usual suspects Cam Tragardh (10 points, 6 rebounds) and Alex Loughton (9 points, 3 rebounds) were quiet, with Loughton in foul trouble for most of the night and Tragardh scoring three baskets inside the last three minutes of the game to bolster his numbers.

The Tigers drew 24 fouls to 18, yet went to the foul line 24 times to just six for the Snakes in a show of how much more aggressive they were in getting to the rim.

Cairns will try and pick up the pieces after falling to a 2-2 record when they travel to Sydney on Friday night, while Melbourne will face the 36ers in Adelaide on the same night before hosting Wollongong at the Cage on Sunday to complete their double.

Adelaide too strong at home for Sydney

The Adelaide 36ers have secured second position on the NBL ladder with dominant home win against the Sydney Kings on Sunday, running out 97-84 victors.

The duo of Daniel Johnson (20 points, 8 rebounds) and Gary Ervin (19 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) once again led the charge for the Sixers. While Ervin seemed to be trying to do too much during stretches of the game, he still came up big late in the fourth quarter with nine points and numerous dimes.

The win was a team victory, with Mitch Creek (14 points, 10 rebounds), Anthony Petrie (12 points, 7 rebounds) and Luke Schenscher (10 points, 7 rebounds) all being serviceable on both ends of the floor and playing their part.

Adelaide piled on the pressure inside as they scored 50 points inside the paint compared to 34 for the Kings. This was helped by a 23-13 assist count, mainly thanks to Ervin, Adam Gibson and Jason Cadee.

For the visitors Charles Carmouche (27 points, 6 rebounds) hit the scoreboard for the second straight game, which is exactly what the Kings were looking for from him when they initially signed him. Along with Carmouche, A.J. Ogilvy (22 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks) kept the Kings in the contest for three quarters.

In what was an exciting game throughout, the result always looked like an Adelaide victory once the small Sydney lead from the first quarter was cut back, and the Sixers look poised to make a deep run this season from an early observation. Sydney head home to take on the Taipans next Friday night in what should be a very good contest. Adelaide patiently waits at home to try to exact revenge on the Tigers whom they lost to in Melbourne no longer than a fortnight ago.

Breakers snap losing streak despite hot-shooting Clarke

Defending champions New Zealand have snapped a four-game losing streak by downing the Wollongong Hawks on the road on Sunday.

The Breakers came through with a 97-89 victory in an entertaining and high-scoring contest, and managed to hold off the plucky Hawks despite an enormous haul from Rotnei Clarke (36 points, 13-23 FG).

photo credit: thomaswolfesghost via photopin cc

Clarke dominated and did everything possible to keep his side in the game in the last term, scoring 15 points in the term alone. Just one night after Melbourne’s Chris Goulding set a season high mark for points, Clarke broke it with less than a minute on the clock on a pair of foul shots.

However it was the Breakers’ day, with the reigning champs climbing off the bottom of the table and consigning the Hawks to that spot instead.

Alex Pledger (19 points, 6 rebounds, 8-10 FG) was enormous for the visitors and drove them to victory, while Mika Vukona (18 points, 11 rebounds, 8-10 FG) provided plenty after being ejected in their last start on Friday night.

Despite a quiet night from import Kerron Johnson (10 points, 2-8 FT), the Breakers got plenty of help from Darryl Corletto (15 points, 6-9 FG) and Gary Wilkinson (9 points, 5 rebounds).

For the Hawks, Kevin Tiggs (18 points, 7-13 FG) and Tim Coenraad (12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) tried hard but just fell short in the final quarter.

The game was up and down for the first 30 minutes as both teams traded baskets and the lead on numerous occasions before the Breakers pulled away as Johnson broke free of the shackles to fuel a run, which included three field goals and a pair of steals, to give his side the lead for good with less than five minutes remaining.

The Breakers travel to Townsville as they look to get back in touch with the top four next Friday night, while Wollongong travel to Melbourne to take on the Tigers next Sunday.

Round 4 Summary

New Zealand Breakers 93 (Te Rangi 22, Johnson 17, Pledger 16) Adelaide 36ers 96 (Ervin 22, Frye 18, Petrie 15) Attendance: 3,175 @ North Shore Events Centre

Townsville Crocodiles 86 (Conklin 19, Pace 18, Blanchfield 14) Sydney Kings 88 (Carmouche 33, Ogilvy 17, Hill 15) Attendance: 3,163 @ Townsville Entertainment Centre

Perth Wildcats 87 (Beal 21, Ennis 17, Martin 16) Wollongong Hawks 47 (Forman 12, Demos 8, Davidson 8) Attendance: 11,570 @ Perth Arena

Cairns Taipans 74 (Wilson 17, Tragardh 10, Weigh 10) Melbourne Tigers 86 (Goulding 34, Worthington 13, Walker 9) Attendance: N/A @ Cairns Convention Centre

Adelaide 36ers 97 (Johnson 20, Ervin 19, Creek 14) Sydney Kings 84 (Carmouche 27, Ogilvy 22, Madgen 16) Attendance: 6,136 @ Adelaide Arena

Wollongong Hawks 89 (Clarke 36, Tiggs 18, Coenraad 12) New Zealand Breakers 97 (Pledger 19, Vukona 18, Corletto 15) Attendance: 2,132 @ Wollongong Entertainment Centre