1. Madgen is freed!
Ben Madgen scored a season-high 23 points on Saturday night against the Bullets in what was his 150th NBL game. He came up big for the Phoenix in crucial moments of the game and proved why he was a key signing for the league’s newest franchise.
South East Melbourne will be hoping this sparks a big stretch for the 34-year-old, and we get the feeling it will.
2. Comeback kids, part II
Early in the third quarter, Brisbane looked to have the game wrapped up. They were up by 16 points and were seemingly getting what they wanted on offence. However, that was when South East Melbourne flicked the switch. By the final break, they had the lead and by the final buzzer, they were walking away with a 15-point win.
It’s unclear as to who this says more about, but you have to give credit to the Phoenix for staying in the fight and coming through with the victory.
3. Kendall Stephens has no fear
In the preseason, it appeared as though Kendall Stephens was going to take the NBL by storm. Sadly, it hasn’t quite worked out that way, but he still came up big for the Phoenix on Saturday night despite a quiet offering on the stat sheet.
Late in the third quarter during South East Melbourne’s big run, commentators were calling for Simon Mitchell to take Stephens off as he had offered very little on the floor. However, the sharpshooter put those mistakes behind him, stepping up with a big three to extend his team’s lead to seven. It was a massive shot for the momentum of the game and showed his positive mentality even when playing poorly.
4. Locking down Lamar
One of the keys to beating Brisbane is to make sure you lock down Lamar Patterson. If you can force him to be a facilitator and not the main man, you go a long way to knocking over the Bullets.
Phoenix did exactly that on Saturday night, limiting him to just 14 points on 5/14 shooting. He did deliver nine assists, however I’m sure Simon Mitchell would be pleased with how his team guarded the star import.
5. Kyle Adnam aka 'The Spark'
It’s been a breakout season for Kyle Adnam, and his excellent play continued on Saturday. The point guard finished with 16 points in just 16 minutes and provided South East Melbourne with a crucial spark off the bench.
If Adnam continues to play at this level, Phoenix’s point guard stocks have to be rated as one of the best in the league. John Roberson, Adam Gibson, and Adnam can all run the offence and are a very solid triple threat.
6. Import struggles
When you see a high-scoring game in the NBL, normally you'd expect at least one import to dominate the contest. However, this was a game where the local contingent did most of the damage for both teams.
Combined, the six imports in the game averaged just 10 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. Those are low numbers and considering these two teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot, don’t be surprised if there are some changes.
7. Hodgson's rising stock
You get the feeling next time Matt Hodgson is available, NBL teams will be rushing to score his signature. He only played 17:46 on Saturday night, but was effective, recording 12 points on 5/7 shooting.
He is long, can block and alter shots, and is frequently throwing it down in the paint. You can teach most things, but you can’t teach size and that should make the 6’11” Hodgson a valued asset in this league.