1. Shoot it Mitch!
Down by two against the Kings with less than 20 seconds left, the ball had to be in the hands of either John Roberson or Mitch Creek. The former started with it, drove hard, dished to Creek, who attacked the rim. Instead of shooting it, he handed it off to Dane Pineau who couldn’t get a handle on the ball.
We know what a great player Creek is and how he is always more than happy to dish to his teammates in better positions. However, with the game on the line, Creek has to take that on himself and finish it.
To help understand Creek’s perspective on shooting from an earlier story:
“I’m not shy to shoot it. I’m not shy to take ****ing 20 shots now. I don’t care if I go 0-of-20, I’m going to keep shooting that thing. I’m going to keep playing defence. I’m going to keep talking and leading my team.”
It’s more than just shooting the shot, but rather understanding the situation and finding the right opportunity.
“If I see that we’ve had five bad shots in a row, I’m not going to ****ing shoot it,” Creek continued. “I will think that we need a better shot. I can shoot it, but I won’t because we can get a better shot. What’s the shot clock? What’s the lineup? What’s the backside defence? I will drive and then maybe initiate a second side kick and drive etc.”“Chop wood, carry water”: Mitch Creek on early Phoenix success and the process of winning
2. Comeback kids
In the end, it will go down as a loss for the Phoenix, but that shouldn’t take away from the incredible effort they made to even get back in the game.
Early in the third quarter, the Kings led by 20 points and the game looked done and dusted. However, South East Melbourne managed to will themselves back into the contest, and had an opportunity to take home the ‘W’ down the stretch.
3. Roberson will be hot property
If John Roberson returns to the NBL next year and decides to hear offers from other teams, he will be hot property. The NBL is an import point guard dominated league and Roberson has been putting his hand up as one of the best.
Against the Kings, he had 25 points, six assists, and two steals, and got Phoenix back into the game when they looked dead and buried. There is still plenty of this season to play, but keep your eye on Roberson in the offseason.
4. Anthem incident explained
The Sydney Kings copped some heat on social media during Saturday’s game, after they failed to come out of the locker room for the pregame national anthem.
It took some time, but finally, an explanation has been given. Kings chairman and owner Paul Smith stated it was as basic as coach Will Weaver running overtime with his pregame instructions. Case closed.
5. Casper is clutch
We already knew it, but Casper Ware made it clear again on Saturday as to just how clutch he is. Down the stretch, the star point guard came up with big plays right when his team needed them.
Apparently, the Kings had to pay big bucks to woo the former United guard north, but he is already paying it off in droves.
6. The fight is on
The way South East Melbourne started the season, it looked as though they were destined for one of the four playoff spots. They have since rocketed back down to earth and have a serious battle on their hands for fourth spot.
It would seem as though Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne have all but locked in the top three spots, which means there is one place left that most teams are in the mix for. Get ready Phoenix, it’s going to be a fight.
7. Congrats Gibbo
On Saturday veteran Adam Gibson notched up his four thousandth NBL point. The 33 year old has had an incredible in the league, winning two championships and being named Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
He has had some injury troubles this season, but Gibson is still playing a key role for the NBL’s newest franchise. Bravo Gibbo!