On Saturday night we saw two guys who should be at the forefront of the MVP discussion even at this early points of the season. Mitch Creek continues to go from strength-to-strength, performing brilliantly despite Phoenix going down to United. He finished with 23 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds in a great effort.
At the other end of the floor it was big man Shawn Long for United that looked like a man among boys. He had 31 points and 12 rebounds, shooting the ball at 70%. This two already look like All-NBL First Team players this season even at this early stage.
2. Kyle is still wildin’
Very few bring energy off the bench like Kyle Adnam does. He gives it absolutely everything when he gets his minutes and was once again all over the court against his old team.
Adnam finished with seven points, four assists, and three steals in around 16 and a half minutes. No wonder he is a fan favourite.
3. What happened to the deep ball?
Last week we spoke about South East Melbourne living and dying by the three-point shot, however against United they took just 17 three points attempts.
They shot it at 41%, which is a decent clip but compared to what they’ve done in previous weeks, it is a shift away from the way they have been trying to play as they put up nowhere near the same volume of deep shots as they have been.
4. Ben Madgen still loves a scrap
Before he left the NBL to play in Europe, everyone around the league new Ben Madgen wasn’t afraid of a scrap. His little tussle with Chris Goulding on the weekend showed that fire hasn’t disappeared either.
Madgen clearly took exception to CG43’s flopping antics and let him know all about it on Saturday night. It didn’t work out for Phoenix in the long run, but it is that kind of passion from a veteran player than can spark a side.
5. No need to panic
Despite losing two of their last three games, there is no need for Phoenix – or their fans – to panic just yet. The loss to Perth was a real NBL baptism, meanwhile United jumped them in the first quarter on Saturday night and they were playing catch-up from then on.
South East Melbourne have the senior guys to get on with the job and steady the ship.
6. Welcome to the league Terry Armstrong
Next Star Terry Armstrong saw his first minutes of NBL action on Saturday night against Melbourne United.
He played at the end of the first quarter and even managed to record a positive stat, pulling in a defensive rebound. It was a small step for the Next Star, and gives him something to build on over coming months.
7. The rivalry we wanted
We are two Throwdown’s into this young rivalry and each team has managed to pull out a win. It’s exciting because we might finally be getting the Victorian rivalry that fans have been yearning for since the demise of the South East Melbourne Magic and Victoria Titans.
Add the fact there was a little bit of angst on Saturday night and the Throwdown looks as though it will live up to the name.