Sydney 88, Adelaide 85
At the 2:20 mark of the first quarter it looked like Adelaide was heading for a solid win against the weary Kings ( I think O tweeted something along the lines of a blowout is brewing). Sydney was throwing up bricks while Adelaide was building some good momentum. How quickly things change.Chasing a loose ball, Sixer Anthony Petrie recklessly dived onto Ben Madgen to try to rescue the ball and the two got tangled on the floor. Madgen was wildly kicking his legs and we soon knew why- he'd put out his shoulder. An anguished Madgen, in the middle of an MVP-type season, looked like he'd be out for the game and quite possibly the season. The crowd went quiet, seemingly feeling bad for Madgen but also feeling this would surely help Adelaide's chances. The crowd relaxed. Sadly though, so did Adelaide.
From that 2:20 mark until Madgen miraculously reappeared at the 3:55 mark of the second quarter, Sydney went on an incredible 30-7 run. Instead of having to take tough shots, Sydney was suddenly creating easy chances directly under the ring. Stunningly, Adelaide appeared to roll over. Whether they were rocked by the Madgen injury or "put the cue in the rack", Adelaide showed no heart, no fight and no leadership.
Adam Gibson may have given the Sixers a fighting chance in the fourth quarter, but it must be pointed out he went missing during this stretch. He was not on for the last 2:20 of the first, but played the first 6:05 of the second until Madgen reappeared. His stat line during this stretch- 1 assist, 1 missed three. He had plenty of mates but as the co-captain, an Olympian and veteran, he had to do more. His fourth quarter heroics were valuable but it must be pointed out Adelaide may never have been in such a position had he and others stepped up. Here's how his team mates fared during Sydney's run.
Creek- 0/1 FG
Schenscher- 1/3 FG, 1 FT, 2 fouls
Petrie- 4 rebounds, 1/4 FG
Crosswell- 0/1 FG
Cadee- 0/1 FG
Johnson- 0/3 FG, 2/2 FT, turnover
Weigh- 0/2 FG
Yep, for those scoring at home Adelaide shot 1/15 during that stretch, grabbing just 4 rebounds (all Petrie). Sydney lifted but Adelaide certainly froze up.
Adelaide's backcourt was hugely disappointing. Jason Cadee had his worst game of the year. Apparently he was sick but his excuses fall on deaf ears in light of Madgen's performance. Crosswell looked a lot better out there than Cadee today but had minimal scoreboard impact. Massingale and Daly both played just under 4 minutes but also helped little. Between the four of them they contributed two points in forty five minutes of playing time.
Schenscher and DJ both had very good games. Big Luke deserved more time and should have featured more but Adelaide made some nice runs while he was off. Johnson had a good second half but made plenty of crucial errors (6 turnovers).
The fourth quarter was a battle between Adam Gibson and a player I wish we never let walk in Aaron Bruce. Here's their 4th quarter numbers.
Bruce- 11pts, 1 ast, 1 reb, 1 to, 4 fouls
Gibson- 18pts, 2 ast, 0 reb, 1 to, 1 foul
There will be a lot of soul-searching and reflection for Adelaide to do after this one.
How did they lose that game with Madgen sitting a large chunk of the first half and then playing the second half with a bung shoulder?
Where were the leaders?
How did it come out of that weekend 0-2?
The lineup and rotations still need work. Clearly Gibson plays better as a shooter and Cadee needs to be given the ball. Clarke needs to fix his backcourt rotations as he often runs the subs so that Crosswell and Cadee feature as the backcourt. Weigh, Cadee & Crosswell shared over 72 minutes of playing time, leaving just over 6 minutes for Creek and Massingale combined.
The crowd was low today and boos were heard during the second quarter Kings run. It is time for some change.
Adam Gibson- 22pts (8/18), 4 reb, 10 ast. Huge down the stretch but dead quiet when it mattered. His best numbers game for the year but I'm still troubled overall by his game. 7/10
Steve Weigh- 14pts (5/11), 6 reb, 0 ast. Also absent during "the run" and was better in the second half. Didn't do enough and had some lapses on D. 5/10
Jason Cadee- 1pt (0/2), 0 reb, 2 ast. Was clearly not right but should have learned a lot from Madgen's performance. 1/10
Tom Daly- 0pts (0/1), 0 reb, 1 ast. Clarke had to try something. Tom wasn't the answer. 1/10
CJ Massingale- 0pts (0/0). 0 reb, 0 ast. Duck egg. 0/10
Luke Schenscher- 18pts (8/15), 10 reb, 2 ast. Loves playing Sydney who have no-one suited to matching him. Looked more agile and energetic. Encouraging. 7/10
Anthony Petrie- 2pts (1/6), 5 reb, 2 ast. Inadvertently sparked the Kings with the play on Madgen. Not his usual self today. 3/10
Daniel Johnson- 24pts (9/17), 8 reb, 1 ast. Made some key plays but also made some key errors. 7/10
Mitch Creek- 3pts (1/2), 0 reb, 0 ast. He must be scratching his head. 1/10
Nathan Crosswell- 1pt (0/1), 0 reb, 5 ast. Frustrated Henry with "in your shorts" defense. 4/10
Ben Madgen- 14pts (6/12), 5 reb, 1 ast. My respect for the man has gone through the roof. Was in agony as he left the floor and was still in trouble when somehow he got back into the game. Brilliant passion and leadership and did all he could to ensure a win. Hit some telling baskets and wouldn't give an inch. Model player.7/10
Luke Martin- 0pts (0/0), 0 reb, 0 ast, Hey, he's still in the league. Duck egg. 0/10
Graeme Dann- 12pts (5/5), 6 reb, 4 ast. Excellent game, simply outmaneuvered and outworked his opponents. 6.5/10
Ian Crosswhite- 10pts (4/9), 4 reb, 1 ast. Battled hard all day against bigger and more talented opponents. 6/10
Aaron Bruce- 22pts (7/13), 3 reb, 5 ast. Stepped up when Madgen when down and when Henry went to water. Come back Aaron! 7.5/10
Corin Henry- 9pts (3/12), 4 reb, 4 ast. Battled hard but shot was off and got frustrated by Crosswell. 5.5/10
Tom Garlepp- 2pts (1/4), 4 reb, 1 ast. Minimal impact outside the silly foul on Creek. 3.5/10
Kevin White- 13pts (5/10), 4 reb, 1 ast. Gave the team a lift and hit some important baskets. 6/10
Darnell Lazare- 6pts (3/7), 6 reb, 0 ast. Has the tools, just doesn't quite have the basketball IQ. 5/10