Townsville 80, Adelaide 75
At around 5:30pm tonight I wrote this on our Facebook page
Got a sneaky feeling this The Official Adelaide 36ers Page vs Townsville McDonald's Crocodiles game is gonna be a memorable one................
It sure was. Here's what I'll remember about this game.
1/ The injury
Mitch Creek had an immediate impact once he entered the game at the 3:31 mark of the first quarter. He finished the quarter with 2 rebounds, 3 points and a steal and pumped life into a stagnant 36ers offense. He registered another steal and "And 1" early in the 2nd...and then was subbed off, leaving quite a few fans around me (including myself) dumbfounded. Mitch was here to play and was key to the 36ers turning this around. He got some more chances later and continued to look good, although I had thought to myself he was lucky he hadn't got badly injured several times after kamikaze attempts to get the ball. Then it happened.
At the 6:11 mark of the last quarter, not long after yet another steal, he slipped near the opposition free throw line and grabbed for his lower leg, grimacing in pain. It was soon clear this was serious. Mitch was distraught and you could almost see what was going through his mind, knowing what this meant to his fledgling career. Adelaide was up 64-60 at that point. Townsville then went on a 20-11 run to close it out.
This injury is going to hurt the club significantly...........but I'll be sick if anyone from the club uses it as a legitimate excuse now or in the future. Despite what the rest of us have seen, the coaching staff had seen fit to only play him around 13 minutes a game. Until tonight he was averaging 5 points and 2 boards a game. I'm fully aware of what he brought to the table but he was sparingly used, especially down the stretch. He again tonight did all he could to make his case for more minutes. Look at his output versus Steven Weigh, for example
Creek- 18mins, 11pts (4/5 FG) , 3 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl
Weigh- 35mins, 9pts (2/8 FG), 4 reb, 2 ast, 0 stl
Unfortunately now this argument is dead for 9-12 months. The CJ release is being made to look more and more amateurish by the day, Adelaide now down to two back up guards in Nathan Crosswell and Tom Daly. They are averaging 2 points and 2 assists a game combined. At the very least Adelaide should have had a replacement waiting in the wings, knowing the consequences if a Gibson or Creek went down. As fate would have it, Gibson did injure a hip last week but managed to play and Creek is now out for a significant amount of time.
My thoughts and prayers are with Mitch to have a successful comeback and get a chance to show us all he can do.
2/ Gary Ervin
Ervin had an explosive start to the game, scoring 15 in the first quarter. Adelaide had no answers for him as he scored at will from all spots on the court. He finished the half with 18 and suffered a leg injury right on half time that looked quite serious. He limped off and I was sure he was done. He came back and played on, scoring just three more points to finish with a game high 21.It's a testament to how much the Crocs have grown that they won that game with such little input in the second half from Ervin. You can't help but admire G-Money's passion, will to win, heart and skills. One of the best of the last decade.
3/ Run the clock down properly!
Adelaide had the ball with 11 seconds to go in the first quarter and needed to close it with a basket. Adam Gibson again, for what feels like the hundredth time this season, took a shot with 4 seconds left. He was fouled and hit both free throws. Well done Adam! Problem is, 4 seconds is an eternity in basketball and Townsville rushed it to their end and got the ball to Ervin to nail a buzzer-beating 3. This keeps happening. Please Marty, run some drills which teach the guys how to take last second shots. Practice it with a clock and everything. This is basic stuff that counts at the end of games.
Here's some positives from the game
-Mitch Creek's performance. Again, a damn shame
-Luke Schenscher's game. 18 points and 12 boards. Loves playing against Luke Nevill. Has come to life the last few games but needs to do it night-in, night-out, whether he's being matched up against 6'8 guys or 7'2 guys. Has struggled against really physical and agile 6'9-6'11 guys.
-Peach. 6 points and 8 boards in 18 minutes. Less chances tonight due to Big Luke's game and the fact Weigh continues to get unwarranted minutes. Should have got more of Weigh's and DJ's minutes in this one, had good impact when he was out there. Plus he's an All-Star man!
-JC. I love a version of Jason Cadee, just not the one I've seen for the majority of this year. I love the one who's free to run and play an uptempo style. This one has been asked to be a robot, often left to play a shooting guard who doesn't get many shots. In my opinion he's the most mismanaged guy on the roster. Should be tried coming off the bench at this point.
Petrie/Creek/Schenscher- 13/24 FG
Gibson/Cadee/Weigh/Johnson- 11/49 FG
Petrie/Creek/Schesncher- 69 minutes (23 ea)
Gibson/Cadee/Weigh/Johnson 123 minutes (30 ea)
It's effectively season over now for Adelaide, unless they bring in the next Robert Rose as their import. Two of our starters are not performing and the bench is now incredibly thin. Townsville has shown you can get yourself out of a horrible mess if you'll do all it takes. Consider their situation
-Before game one of the regular season they sack both imports when they realise they aren't what they need. Their selection in the first place is troublesome but they acted fast when they saw both players weren't right for them
-Quickly sign Gary Ervin, a former league MVP and Larry Abney, a former star of the league.
-Abney turns out to be a disaster but manages to get injured, making it easier for all when he retires, allowing them to go after another player. This time they bring in Luke Nevill, a quality big fresh out of NBA training camp.
Townsville got Ervin. Melbourne got Flynn. Adelaide gets.........
It all hinges on this move for the club's season. I'll still keep turning up and supporting the team but results like tonight are killing me.