Preview: 36ers v Wildcats (11/11/12)
It's a day still tattooed on my brain. It was my first game back as a 36ers season ticket holder and the boys were opening the season against their arch-rival, the Perth Wildcats. In a pregame interview, coach Marty Clarke commented that everyone knew the Perth game plan and that they'd prepared for that during the week. Evidently the preparation didn't include how to beat a press as the Wildcats hounded the Sixers into constant turnovers and made Chris Warren's first game up a tough one. Warren struggled so much against the press that Nathan Crosswell played extensive minutes purely to held bring the ball past halfcourt. Soon it was clear that Warren, our import point guard, was best at the two guard and that Crosswell had to start at the point. The season went downhill from there.
Perth's press was excellent in that game but their offense was even better. It's never fun watching your team lose by 30 but as a lover of the sport it was a joy to watch Perth play. They kept finding the open man and it felt like 75% of their shots were wide open. Adelaide's defense was a shambles (a sign of things to come) .So you'll understand if I'm not super confident about Adelaide's chances in tomorrow's game.
The 36ers will be keen to atone for last night's disaster but it won't be easy for several reasons......
1) Backing up. Teams are struggling this season to back up 48hrs after a game.
2) Confidence. This would have taken a battering, being systematically exposed on defense and being listless on offense.
3) Cohesion. Perth has a stable lineup. Half of Adelaide's team is new and the Wildcats will know the holes in Adelaide's system.
4) Revenge. Perth will be smarting after their stunning loss to Wollongong last week.
Win and the 36ers will gain some respect. Lose and there will be calls for change. This might seem knee jerk but after seeing firsthand what Melbourne gained by pulling the trigger, Adelaide will have to consider all options. Massingale, while showing signs of improvement, is not giving Adelaide what it needs. The Twin Towers experiment is a fail so far, with Schenscher not living up to expectations and DJ going backwards with less opportunities and being asked to guard guys outside the key. Marty Clarke, almost considered a "can't miss" when recruited, will be heavily under fire considering he has by far the most talented roster yet and is still overseeing a sub "500" team.
A lot on the line for the club tomorrow. I hope they respond, but I can't ignore the respect I have for Perth.
My tip: Perth by 14