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Seven Seconds or Less: Big Game Dane and Adnam's case for Sixth Man
1. Close enough not good enough
Sadly, the South East Melbourne Phoenix's game against the Sydney Kings was representative of their entire season. They were close to pulling off something excellent, however just missed the mark in the end.
Phoenix took it to overtime against the ladder leading Kings, but in the end, fell three points short. It's their fourth loss in a row by seven points or less, an issue they will have to address in the offseason.
2. Kings with the clamps
Not often have teams been able to apply the clamps to either Mitch Creek or John Roberson in a game, however the Kings managed to keep both of them relatively quiet, both scoring less than 20 points. In an overtime game where both teams scored close to 100 points, this was a big surprise.
On a positive note for Phoenix, if you told anyone prior to the game that Sydney would restrict Creek and Roberson to a combined total of 33 points, most would have expected a blowout. Credit to South East Melbourne's role players though, as they came to play.
3. Different game, same Dane
Five points and 13 rebounds doesn't seem like much on the stat sheet, however, like normal, Dane Pineau had a big impact against the Kings. Seven of his rebounds were offensive and he came up clutch late in the game burying two free throws to send the game to overtime.
Hopefully, South East Melbourne can pair Pineau with a genuine centre so he doesn't have to consistently battle against the likes of Shawn Long and Andrew Bogut in the paint. Expect him to be even more effective if they do.
4. The stat sheet lies
When you look over the team stats, this game really should have been won by South East Melbourne. They took more field goals, shot a better percentage from deep and the free-throw line, outrebounded the Kings, and their bench outscored Sydney's second unit by 18 points.
However, as we all know the stat sheet doesn't always tell the story. Sydney came up big when they needed to, something they have done all season.
5. Heartland still beating
Despite their team having lost five straight games heading into their fixture with Sydney, the South East Melbourne fans still showed out. Sunday at 3pm isn't always ideal time slot but over 5,000 still showed up for the league's newest franchise.
Showing up is one thing, but getting loud down the stretch when the team is battling away is another thing. Promising signs on the supporter front for Phoenix.
6. Kyle's case for Sixth Man
He may not be averaging the numbers that some of the other Sixth Man of the Year candidates are posting, but that doesn't mean that Kyle Adnam doesn't have a case for the award.
He tied for top scorer on South East Melbourne against the Kings and has continually been the spark for Phoenix off the bench. When it comes to the sixth man role, no one quite does it like Kyle Adnam.
7. Phoenix's grand final
We all know we have a lot to play out before we get to the grand final series, however for South East Melbourne, their grand final is on Sunday at 3pm. They meet Melbourne United in that clash and there will be plenty to play for on both sides of the ball.
This will be Phoenix's last game of the season and their opportunity to end their debut season on a win. United, on the other hand, could very well be playing for a spot in the top four. It's going to be fun!