Melbourne 84, Adelaide 71
Most in the building were still cautious. An 11 point lead didn't feel like enough, considering how many minutes Melbourne's starters played in the first half. The numbers are mind blowing.
Goulding- 14:00 (approx, issues with NBL stats)
So outside Ballinger, most starters had plenty of rest. That was clearly going to be a factor, unless the Sixers quickly drew a foul on either,or both of, Scott and Flynn (which of course they didn't). This was a major, major error by the coaches and the players as the game could have swung quickly if one or both of these guys had to go back to the bench. They both played the full quarter and did so without registering another foul. On top of this, Clarke opted to rest Adam Gibson with 4:06 left and his team hanging on to a 55-51 lead. The Tigers too advantage, going on 12-4 run to take a 63-59 lead at the final change. The Tigers outscored 26-11 for the quarter. Scott scored 7 for the period. Flynn (who I'd expected to go ballistic in the quarter) was quiet, scoring just 2. Chris Goulding got going though, scoring 9 and even hitting a three-quarter court heave that was just after the siren. Adelaide's offense went dry as so often been the case in third quarters, with Steve Weigh playing a lone hand, scoring 7 of Adelaide's 11 points for the quarter.
It didn't improve for Adelaide in the foruth, as they scored just 12 for the final period. This wasn't due to Melbourne's awesome defense, just again a team that looks clueless and fearful running an offense when the game is on the line. Johnson scored 5 of Adelaide's 12 for the quarter, with Weigh scoring 3, Gibson 2 and Schenscher 2. So if you're keeping count, here's who scored in the second half.
**Christoperson got 0 minutes in the second half, so we won't count him.
All in all, it was another inexcusable loss and something's gotta give. The famed board meeting in January had no effect at all, with the team playing far worse in the weeks that have passed. The very fabric of the club is being destroyed by the acceptance of pathetic performances and lack of accountability towards members and fans. The club is in hiding (see how many press releases contain the words "there will be no further comment on this matter") and their interaction with their fan base has been seemingly ignorant of the slop the team has been serving up. Boti Nagy's holiday couldn't have come at a worse time as their mainstream coverage for the past few months is now pretty much non-existent. The lack of coverage in "The Advertiser" and on network news has ensured no-one is talking about the 36ers outside the die-hards.
(Speaking about die-hards, credit must go to the 5000+ crowd who turned up today. It's a great effort to have even showed up but the fans were looking to get involved anytime they could today, giving it to the refs, to Scott and Flynn when they had to go to the bench...just a shame the team couldn't feed off and recognise the passion of the fans.
Here's some problems that became even more apparent today.
As Boti has stated several times in his blog of late, Clarke and Radford are simply out of their depth. They were outcoached by a novice today in Chris Anstey, who until this season had never coached before (he reminded us of this when he foolishly didn't sub Scott out after picking up his second foul). Faced with limited options because of the foul trouble, Anstey wisely decided to give plenty of rest to his other key starters too in the second quarter and used predominantly Ballinger/Goulding and four bench guys, hoping for them to just keep it close so he could go all out in the third. It worked.
It just seems there's too much going on in a game for Clarke, who gets lost in his rotations, worrying about what he anticipates the other team will do and not going back to unorthodox things that have worked (eg Daniel Johnson's full-court pressure double-teaming the point guards). The players know he's gone and aren't responding to anything he's doing.
CROSSWELL & CHRISTOPHERSON
These two can't be on the floor together. Crosswell flat out ignores Christopherson out there and often ends up taking shots himself when the defense leaves him open (that's never a good thing). I'm not overestimating Christopherson's abilities but if the guys out there- PASS TO HIM FOR OPEN THREES!!!! These two combined for 1 point, 0 rebounds and 0 assists in 13:29 of playing time. Clarke clearly decided to "Darren Ng" Christopherson today, meaning he'll give him a few minutes and if he doesn't get it going he'll sit him for the rest of the game. He couldn't get it going obviously today, seeing as he had no shot attempts. I'll put some footage up this week to make my point.
Clearly hurt and hating the losing,Peach is an angry man out there and it's not resulting in good play. Had 8 points and 7 rebounds but his continual "sick of this" face isn't helping the atmosphere out there. Was out of line with his outbursts towards the refs in the dying minutes which may result in him being asked to "please explain" this week.
Is just way to up and down, dominant at times and then just embarrassing at others. Had 10 points and 4 boards today with 6 costly turnovers. His form this year is what I feared when I wrote this article on Luke's signing (please read it). It looks like I was right, the DJ/Schensch pairing hasn't worked and will cost Clarke and Radford their jobs. The bigger issue though is the club's lack of flexibility for next year. They need to find a genius coach who can make a Schenscher/DJ/Weigh/Petrie frontcourt work. Any job interview should start with the prospective coach convincing the interview committee how he can make that work. All are signed for next year, so it's crucial the coach brings in a system where these pieces will all work, or for a coach who has the kahunas to bring DJ or Schensch off the bench as a role player (think DJ as a David-Stiff type or Schensch as a rich man's David Cooper).
So it's another 0-2 weekend for Adelaide, with Cairns in Cairns up next.
We'll cover some more of the game issues in tomorrow's "The Numbers" article.