Melbourne 87, Adelaide 80
The Sixers went down 87-80 this afternoon in another disappointing effort. By now you're probably sick of reading lots of negatives on this blog (a side-effect of going 1-11 in your last 12 games), so let's start with a positive.
Guard Jason Cadee had his best game as a 36er today, going off for a career-high 24 points. He had his inside and outside game going, scoring off lay-ups, runners and from outside the arc. Cadee shot 9/15 and was 4/6 from three point range. His outside shot isn't pretty but once he gets his eye in he can be dangerous. He's now 15/33 from outside on the road, which makes in hard to fathom how he's only hit 2 from 24 at home. More than any game this season, Cadee played with some confidence and looked far more aggressive. DJ outscored JC but Cadee was more efficient and effective.
The other positive to take from the game will be that Adelaide didn't quit, getting within 3 in the dying stages before losing a battle of the late-game fouls. The comeback was good but we've seen Adelaide too many times take more risks and play with more desperation when the game is effectively over.
Adelaide got off to an early 5-2 lead but once Melbourne gained the lead at the 7:38 minute mark of the first quarter it never gave it back. The Tigers first quarter was built around the strong play of Johnny Flynn and the sweet shooting of Seth Scott and Adam Ballinger. Melbourne led at the first change 26-16.
The second quarter was much tighter with both teams struggling to find the basket. Adelaide held the Tigers to 13 points, a good feat but it was nullified by the fact they only scored 12 themselves. Adelaide didn't score from the 9:15 mark to the 5:44 mark. Crosswell, Johnson and Cadee were the only 36ers to score for the quarter. Going into halftime, Adam Gibson and Luke Schenscher had contributed 0 points.
Adelaide found a way to score in the third quarter, leaning heavily on Jason Cadee who scored 10 of Adelaide's 22 for the quarter, including a monster three with 4 seconds left that he was fouled on but missed the subsequent free throw. Petrie, Johnson, Weigh and Schenscher also got on the scoreboard as Adelaide started to look a little better. Again though, Melbourne outscored Adelaide, going off for 27 themselves.
The game was pretty much decided going into the last quarter but Melbourne did all it could to lose, playing like millionaires and being sloppy and lazy with the ball. Adelaide trailed 77-61 with 4:15 left but stormed home, getting it to 83-80 on a Gibson triple with 18 seconds left before Melbourne iced some key free throws down the stretch. DJ was key during that run, scoring 10 in that Adelaide purple patch. It was all to no avail though as Adelaide had simply left it's charge too late.
There were many reasons for the loss, but here's some of the standouts.
Melbourne won the rebound count 40-28, with three Tigers pulling down 7 boards (including 7 from Burston in just over 10 minutes of play)
Even though Adelaide started Big Luke on the pine, Adelaide only had 4 points contributed by it's bench. Most notable was Scott Christopherson, who registered 0/3 in 12:39 of action. He's yet to score on the road for Adelaide this year.
Melbourne's imports scored 45 points. Our import scored 0. Flynn led his team beautifully, taking and hitting good shots and creating plenty (9 assists). Scott was given too much room outside at times and worked hard inside to get some easy baskets.
The big games from Cadee and Johnson will be encouraging as Adelaide returns home to play the injury-hit Wollongong next Friday. The Hawks are fighting to hang onto their playoff spot that Adelaide can no longer get but it should be a cracking game.