Imports Are Good (Review: 36ers v Breakers 31/10/13)

Adelaide 96, New Zealand 93

Gary Ervin scored 22 points and Jarrid Frye added 18 to lead their 36ers to a much-needed 96-93 victory over the Breakers. The win gives Adelaide some much needed "cred" and some momentum heading into a generous stretch of four home games out of five.

Ervin and Frye had some important help which we'll get to but the two Americans showed tonight why great imports make such a difference.

Adelaide fans will remember several almost laughable endings to games last year as the team absolutely choked under pressure. Coach Wright helps for sure but you need the right guys taking the right shots. Frye scored 6 points in the last quarter and Gary Ervin 5, as well as a key block that didn't allow the Breakers to get off a good final shot. The biggest difference is that the five on the court at the end (mostly) were Ervin/Gibson/Frye/Petrie/Johnson. Last year that would have been Cadee/Gibson/Weigh/Petrie/Johnson.
Ervin is a far better creator off the dribble and is as comfortable attacking the basket as taking a step back 3. Frye looks to create something everytime he has the ball and opens up space for Adelaide's shooters. Their presence takes pressure off Gibson and allows Peach to roam looking for space. DJ was largely an afterthought.

So how did Adelaide win?

In yesterday's preview , I stated Adelaide would need to defend the perimeter well and create some transition baskets. 1 out of 2 ain't bad!

From the get go, point guard Gary Ervin looked to push the ball at every chance. Adelaide got to the basket with ease in the first while the Breakers largely passed inside to Pledger and stood around watching. The Sixers were smoking, racing out to a 15-2 lead and eventually leading 30-20 at the half. Ervin, Frye, Creek and Johnson all got easy baskets while Gibbo starting warming up from the corner, scoring 11 first quarter points.

It was more of the same in the second as Adelaide kept looking to run and started to embarrass the proud Breakers. At the 1:49 minute mark, Miku Vukona had seen enough and was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on a Mitch Creek fast break. The players got into it and after several minutes the verdict was that Mika Vukona would be ejected, as well as BJ Anthony, who  had stepped in to let Mika know he wasn't down with the play. Adelaide didn't lose focus and kept pushing to lead 51-37 at the half. The Breakers looked cooked. As we should know by now, don't count your chickens when it comes to the Breakers.

Led by emerging talent Reuben TeRangi, New Zealand fought back, outscoring Adelaide 29-20 in the third. TeRangi scored 14 points in 7:55 minutes, at one stage hitting 5 consecutive shots without a miss. He shot 4/6 threes and 1/2 twos to bring the crowd roaring into the game and see his Breakers only trail by 5 going into the final quarter 66-71. Adelaide was still scoring but it's bigs were giving little at either end, forcing Joey Wright to play some Petrie at the 5. Having more active guys guarding the perimeter should have helped...but it didn't.

In under 5 minutes the Breakers had tied the game up, thanks largely to Corey Webster, who took picked up where TeRangi left off. With Ervin taking a breather, Webster was guarded by Jason Cadee and Webster's eyes lit up as he hit three consecutive baskets (7pts) to swing momentum back to New Zealand. Adelaide wasn't going to hand it to them though and Adelaide's imports, aided by some clever work by Anthony Petrie (7 4th quarter points), got Adelaide over the line to smash it's losing streak against New Zealand.

It was a game that had everything but will talked about a lot over the coming days for the Vukona/BJ incident (or as Joey Wright called it "the most ridiculous thing I've seen in the NBL")and some other bad calls which show the refs are going a little over the top in the calling of non-impacting fouls.  

Here's how I thought the Sixers fared.

Gibson - 37:38min, 15pts, 2 reb, 2 ast. His huge 1st quarter built the lead Adelaide needed in the end. 

Cadee- 12:11min, 3pts, 0 reb, 0 ast. Key three in the third but contributed little else. Need to keep working on his pick-and-roll D.

Ervin- 30:10min, 22pts, 4 reb, 6 ast. Set the tempo with his continual pushing of the ball and made some money baskets. Leadership was key...plus that end of game block.

Schenscher- 8:11min, 0pts, 3 reb, 0 ast. Struggled with the tempo and matchups with Pledger the only guy he could really guard.

Frye- 29:23min, 18pts, 5reb, 2 ast. Solid defense (2 steals, 1 block) and scored well early and late. Gives the team the slasher it's been craving for years.

Petrie- 30:17min, 15pts, 6 reb, 1 ast. Battled hard all game and was big down the stretch.

Anthony- 7:06min, 2pts, 0 reb, 2 ast. Got ejected in the second quarter, so, you know, had little impact. His team will love him a little more though tonight.

Johnson- 29:37min, 13pts, 3 reb, 0 ast. 7 of those points were free throws. Got few opportunities due to Adelaide's constant pushing of the ball. A couple of good defensive moments overshadowed by some howlers.

Creek- 15:22min, 8pts, 2 reb, 2 ast. Attacked the basket with reckless abandon, resulting in five trips to the line (for 6 points). Did his job.


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