Back to the drawing board (Review: 36ers v Breakers 20/1/13)
There was some positivity around the club this week after last weekend's win and the news about the arena and future ownership. All those "warm fuzzies" had gone midway through the third quarter as Adelaide fans discovered last week was not a "turning of the corner" but merely a good win against flawed and fading opponent.
The game started with the news big man Luke Schenscher would be missing due to his hard fall last week. After DJ's encouraging game last week, it was hard to know if this was necessarily going to be a bad thing for the Sixers offense. The loss was somewhat nullified by Alex Pledger also sitting for the Breakers. It meant Anthony Petrie would start and get a chance to see what he could produce with more minutes.
The game started out slowly with both teams exchanging leads. Each team has used nine players in the first period, despite both clubs having less depth than usual. Adelaide finished the quarter with an unusual lineup of Crosswell/Daly/Christopherson/Weigh/Vasiljevic. It came together at the 2:05 mark leading 16-13 and finished off the quarter with the scores at 18-18.
Clarke surprisingly went with this lineup to start the second quarter. To everyone's surprise this unit built a 28-24 lead on the back of three great plays by Tom Daly feeding an open Pero under the basket. I was appalled by this lineup even being tried, yet it managed to hold it's own, outscoring New Zealand 12-11. Adelaide slowly started to bring it's starters back in and New Zealand fought back, tying it up at 38 to finish the half. It was a good effort to be going play-for-play with the Breakers but I think a few were cautious until we saw what we served up in the game-defining third quarter. Would we come out firing like last week or more like the last time we played the Breakers?
New Zealand opened the quarter on a 12-0 run, holding the 36ers scoreless until the 4:03 mark when Anthony Petrie earned two free throws. Adelaide completely fell apart, relying totally on a gallant Anthony Petrie, who scored eight of Adelaide's paltry ten for the period (Nathan Crosswell also chipped in with a jump shot). The team's two best scorers, Adam Gibson and Daniel Johnson, went 0/4 for the quarter . The Breakers outscored 24-10 in the third period and slowly dismantled any confidence Adelaide had rebuilt in the last seven days. The 36ers were taught an absolute lesson.
Marty Clarke started Tom Daly in favour of Jason Cadee going into the fourth, an indication of his growing faith in Daly and his rapidly decreasing confidence in Cadee. JC had a stinker, going 0/5 in a wasteful 18 minutes. Daly battled hard in the last quarter, equal top scoring for Adelaide for the quarter with 5. He didn't dominate but was solid on D, played with smarts and tried hard every minute on the court. He was part of a key run in the 2nd quarter and was not afraid to mix it up inside. Adelaide lost the quarter 18-22 and went down 84-66 in the end.
Here's some brief thoughts on each player's performance from the game.
Adam Gibson- Seemed to coast through this game offensively and was torched several times by Corletto on the perimeter. Clearly hates playing the Breakers and didn't step it up when required. Has a great mid-range shot but it's not being utilised enough.
Steve Weigh- Was a ghost for much of the game and had little impact on either end. Only got 26 minutes but didn't deserve any more. His outside shooting is being wasted.
Jason Cadee- Very concerning performance, especially in light of what Daly did with his minutes. Went into his shell after an encouraging game last week.
Tom Daly- Wasn't awesome but had his moments and has a good basketball brain. Should be getting 15-25 minutes a game from here on in to see if he's got the potential to be a useful 7th-8th man for next season.
Scott Christopherson- Got 24 minutes but made some bad mistakes with the ball (5 turnovers), normally due to his absolute terror of what to do with the ball once he gets into the key. Nearly always looks to pass when he gets inside and it cost us big time today. Needs plays run for him for open threes, otherwise is largely ineffective. Competent defender and rebounder but we're not getting from him what we paid for. Not all his fault though.
Anthony Petrie- Top-scored with 19 and added 6 boards. Battled hard all day but is clearly frustrated and sore. Best suited to coming off the bench but did well today.
Pero Vasiljevic- Scored 6 points in 7 minutes and was then not used again. Puzzling. Clarke may have figured he shouldn't push his luck but deserved some run during that awful third quarter.
Daniel Johnson- Nearly had a double-double (9 and 9) but was inefficient again, going 1/7 from the field. Has always struggled with the physicality of the Breakers and today was no different. Poor return when his team really needed him to step up like he did last week without Schensch.
Nathan Crosswell- Only played 14 minutes today but looked for his shot more, hitting three nice mid-range shots. Was used with some unconventional lineups so looked to score more.
Daryl Corletto- Huge game with 15 points on 6/9 shooting (3/6 on threes). Set up camp in the left corner for most of the game and came up big. No rebounds or assists but played his role to perfection.
Cedric Jackson- Solid all around game with 11 points, 8 boards, 6 assists and 3 steals. Did well against Adelaide's pressure, found the open man and steadied the ship in the second half. To paraphrase what Commissioner Gordon said upon seeing Batman's fancy car "We gotta get us one of those".
Will Hudson- Quiet game but was only needed to frustrate DJ and did that well.
Corey Webster- Scored 5 in 9 minutes. Registered no other stats.
Tom Abercrombie- Put up 11 and 5 in 31 minutes. Didn't impose himself on the game but came up with some nice pull-up jumpers to keep the scoreboard ticking.
Mika Vukona- Can't help falling in love with him. 16/7/6 in 24 minutes. Played smart and hard and then fouled himself out of the game when he'd had enough of hitting the floor. New Zealand's best for the day.
CJ Bruton- Came on when Adelaide had got it back to 63-72 in the final quarter and then "pulled a CJ" by coming in cold and hitting a big 3 to get the lead back to double digits. Scored 5 without breaking a sweat. Not made to work hard enough by Adelaide.
Dillon Boucher- 4/6/4 in 22 important minutes. Another Breaker who you grow to admire the more you watch him. Completely selfless and very smart inside the key with positioning.
Leon Henry- An important contributor, scoring 8 in just under 3 minutes near the end of the third. Showed a nice stroke and the ability to be a handy pressure defender.
Next up for Adelaide is a surging Tigers team in Melbourne next Sunday. We were completely blown out by them last time and will need to fix a lot of things before Sunday to avoid another big loss.