Townsville 86, Adelaide 82
At least the year is over.
That's about as much as Sixers fans can take out of yet another loss in what has turned into a nightmare season. The Sixers finished 2012 on a six-game skid and will be glad to see 2013 come around. Except for the fact they have to play Townsville again first up.
The "experts" figured Townsville would be too vulnerable coming off a long break and playing without the league's premier rebounder in Jacob Holmes. Most Sixers fans had learned by now to never count your chickens. My major concern was that it was clear the team's confidence was at an all-time low and that playing with such a thin bench was going to be costly. It was.
Russell Hinder well and truly covered Holmes's absence with a 17/9 game, featuring some huge buckets down the stretch. Luke Nevill was huge with 19 points and 4 boards and some solid D on Luke Schenscher. The Crocs were smashed on the boards 37-27 but it mattered little as they shot 51% from the field and a blistering 59% from range. Gary Ervin again was huge with 23 points and 10 assists.
Adelaide didn't play poorly but once again struggled with some periods of an impotent offense and poor execution down the stretch, albeit this time mainly on just one play. Down by three with 24 seconds left, captain Adam Gibson tried to get free for a three but couldn't, so he passed inside to Anthony Petrie who attempted- and missed- a two pointer. That cost the game, with Adelaide missing their next three attempts before Steve Weigh scored underneath right at the end. Townsville hit 3 of 4 free throws around that basket to close with a 86-82 win.
The talking points from the game from Adelaide's perspective include.......
-All players shooting 50% from the field except DJ (5/13 for 38%) and Crosswell (1/5 for 20%)
-Crosswell again being exposed in the half court. Christopherson can't join on the court quick enough. A lot rides on his confidence in taking shots and then hitting a fair %. Crosswell has taken some bad shots in the last two games and Cadee rarely looks for his own shot, allowing teams to sag off both players a little.
-Tom Daly getting 17 minutes. He did hit an important three and get a nice block and Ervin but 17 minutes was a tad too much.
-Clarke messed up the guard rotations regularly, often having Daly on with Cadee or Crosswell and not as much with Gibson.
-Ervin played all but 1 minute and 8 seconds of the game. Gibson played less than 30. I'm sure part of that had to do with the fact the team plays 3 games in 7 days but surely in such a close game we could have squeezed 35 out of him, especially with the fact Christopherson will play this Friday. I've no doubt this affected the result.
-DJ sat the last 5 minutes of the game, surely related to his 4th quarter efforts Friday.
-Steve Weigh had scored 8 without a miss in the fourth before being sent to the bench inexplicably for nearly 3 minutes. Clarke certainly has overplayed Weigh this season but his timing for giving Weigh a breather couldn't have been worse. The Sixers didn't lose ground, in fact they didn't miss a shot while he was off, but the timing was questionable.
-Schenscher only taking 4 field goal attempts (plus three trips to the line) after such a dominant game against New Zealand
The boys have 3 days to recover before facing up again Friday to face Townsville for the last time this season. Next time I'm expecting the result to finally go Adelaide's way.