Adelaide 77, Perth 65
In theory, Adelaide should never have won this game. Why?
-They'd just been spanked by Melbourne two nights earlier and Perth is a far superior side to the Tigers
-They were playing their second game in 3 days
-Perth was keen to avenge their smashing at the hands of Wollongong last weekend
-DJ was in a slump
-Adelaide is still trying to get to know itself. Perth is a veteran team.
From the outset it was clear Adelaide was going to put in a decent effort and atone for the poor performance they put in Friday. The team was looking for DJ early on offense, was working hard on D and was not going to take a back step to Perth's physicality.
Adelaide led 24-18 at quarter time and it could have been greater if not for one of the ref's (I need to find out his name) who turned a blind eye to some of Perth's antics (ie a hip and shoulder against Gibson that should have been a flagrant foul) and made sure he saw every near foul Adelaide committed. I think I've got a solid record for not being a ref basher but this guy was on a mission.
Perth took control in the second quarter and turned up the defensive intensity (make sure you look up Martin's block on DJ) while finding more ways to score. At the half it was Adelaide by one, 43-42
The third quarter was just plain ugly as both teams combined for 27 points. Perth continued to fight it's way back into the game and took the lead late in the third quarter. For the last play of the quarter, Adelaide worked off some shot clock but Gibson put up a 3 with eight seconds left. It dropped and Adelaide only trailed by 1. I knew at the time he'd shot it too soon and sure enough Perth advanced the ball quickly to Everard Bartlett (who you may remember has a knack for buzzer beaters in Adelaide). It was all net and Perth took it's lead back out to four points, leading 57-53 going into the last change.
Marty Clarke started the last quarter with the unorthodox lineup of Crosswell/Massingale/Gibson/Weigh and Petrie. Bench guys Crosswell, Massingale and Petrie had all played real good games to that point and Gibson and Weigh have been two of our better 4th quarter players so it was a gutsy but common sense move. DJ and Cadee had defended the pick and roll poorly together in the 3rd and this lineup looked like a good combination overall for defense and offense. It worked. Adelaide wore Perth down, matching Perth's desperation and intensity while coming up with big play after big play. Massingale in particular had a blinder, coming up with some key defensive plays while attacking the basket regularly on offense. Suddenly some hope is back in Title Town.
Perth battled hard but in the end looked like a team that have been travelling thousands of kilometres a week for the past 6 weeks. They made un-Perth like mistakes and struggled to hit anything, only scoring eight points in the final quarter while Adelaide racked up twenty four. Incredibly they took eighteen more field goal attempts, but when you hit at 36% it's always going to be hard to win. They also got to the line far less than Adelaide. Redhage and Lisch, so often Perth's go to guys down the stretch, for once didn't have the answers. They'll be happy to be home next week.
Gibson- 9pts (4/11), 5 reb, 4 ast. A bit up and down but was important down the stretch. Outside shooting not where it needs to be. 5.5/10
Weigh- 6pts (2/6), 11 reb, 2 ast. Is mainly setting screens it seems on offense and should be getting more plays run for him. Shooting and turnovers weren't great but 11 rebounds was massive. Worked hard all day. 5.5/10
Cadee- 4pts (1/7), 1 reb, 4 ast. Quiet game, not as effective when not let loose and given the ball. Role needs redefining. 4/10
Massingale- 18pts (5/8), 2 reb, 0 ast. Outstanding output for 18 minutes of PT. Looks a completely different player from the Massingale we saw in October and is working hard on getting to the basket. Also made some key defensive players. Encouraging. 7/10
Schenscher- 3pts (1/2), 4 reb, 3 ast. Hampered by "the ref" and Perth's mobile bigs. Made some nice passes and tried hard. 4/10
Petrie- 11pts (5/9), 7 reb, 1 ast. Made important contributions early and gave Adelaide a guy who wouldn't take a backwards steps to Perth's tactics. 6.5/10
Johnson- 17pts (5/10), 7 reb, 0 ast. Looked like the DJ of 2011/2012. When Schensch was off, the keyway was his and he kept working until he was fouled. Let himself down with his free throw shooting (7/13) but a good return to form. Battled hard inside on defense also. 7/10
Creek- 0pts (0/0), 2 reb, 1 ast. Understandably sat more today due to the play of Crosswell and CJ. 2.5/10
Crosswell- 9pts (3/3), 2 reb, 6 ast. Scoring and ball-handling was important. Found open guys but also found some gaps for himself to get to the hole.. Best game since his comeback. 6.5/10
Hire- 3pts (1/8), 4 reb, 2 ast. One of the main shooting offenders who undid his good hustle work with his shooting performance. 3.5/10
Bartlett- 3pts (1/3), 1 reb, 0 ast. Besides the key buzzer beating three did little else. 2/10
Martin- 6pts (3/7), 5 reb, 1 ast. Worked hard but needed more help.The DJ block will be a contender for block of the year. Some of his team mates let him down on their movements in the press. 5.5/10
Knight- 21pts (10/17), 8 reb, 1 ast. Played a lone hand on offense. Shot 1/5 from the line. 7/10
Tovey- 0pts (0/0), 5 reb, 1 ast. I know he's a role player but didn't do enough. 2.5/10
Lisch- 12pts (4/12), 1 reb, 3 ast. Struggled to get anything going. Not one of his better games. 4.5/10
Robbins- 5pts (2/6), 1 reb, 3 ast. Defensively not where he needs to be and shaky on offense today. Worked hard but Perth needs him fully firing to be a legit top two team. 4/10
Wagstaff- 6pts (3/9), 5 reb, 0 ast. Looked dangerous early but faded as the game wore on. 4/10
Trueman- 2pts (1/2), 1 reb, 0 ast. Ummmm...was one of Perth's better shooters for the day. 1/10
Redhage- 7pts (2/10), 4 reb, 1 ast. Looked old and rundown. Shot poorly from inside and the line. Horrendous last quarter. 4/10