Adelaide 82, Wollongong 81
There's a fair chance if you walked into both change rooms post-game tonight, you'd hear a lot of loud yelling.
Joey Wright would not have been happy with Adelaide's lacklustre performance, the number of defensive lapses and offensive breakdowns.
Gordie McLeod will be asking his team where the urgency they showed in the final minutes was the rest of the game. He will be letting them know if their defensive effort and focus were there earlier they could have pulled off a massive upset.
The game started out sluggish, with both teams combining to miss their first five shots and committing two turnovers. At the 8:08 mark, Daniel Johnson opened Adelaide's account but the team continued to look a little off it's game. It's hard to put a finger on whether it was coming down from the Perth game, some sickness/injury issues, the smaller and less energetic crowd or perhaps the team just felt a win would happen. It looked early like this would be a perfect game for the bench to give the team a spark and early on it certainly did. Jason Cadee and Luke Schenscher entered the game and helped the team go on a 9-2 run. Wollongong started to connect on it's long range shots late in the quarter though and worked it's way back to trail 26-19 at the end of the quarter.
Adelaide opened the second quarter with it's bench but Wollongong started out strong, getting Adelaide's lead back to 1 at 28-27. Wright had seen enough and got his starters back in quickly. Adelaide went on another 9-2 run before the Hawks again clawed their way back. It was 44-42 at halftime and this game was still very much up for grabs. Adelaide was basically allowing any switches defensively on the pick and roll and often this left Hawks players wide open for outside shots. Adelaide gave up a staggering 22 threes for the first half, with the Hawks hitting 8 of them. Against a team with no real post game, it was strange to see Adelaide so willingly give up three point shots. Adelaide's offense,wisely, was heavily reliant on it's inside game but it struggled to get as much run as it would have liked and again found it's outside game wanting (1-7 for the half).
Adelaide opened the second half with a 7-0 run before Wollongong, again, got back into the game. It was on the back of more threes with the Hawks going 4/11 for the quarter. The Sixers found their outside game tellingly in this quarter also, hitting 4/5 from range from surprise contributors Jason Cadee (2/2) and Jarrid Frye (1/1). Cadee scored 8 for the quarter and helped cover the scoring and shooting woes of his more credentialed backcourt partners. It was Adelaide 66-60 going into the fourth.
Adelaide managed to hold it's lead for most of the fourth and led 76-67 with 2 minutes left. Tiggs and Clarke scored quick baskets to get it to 76-71 which led to the Hawks playing the "foul and free throws" game. It paid off with Adelaide shooting 6/10 down the stretch while Clarke (4pts) and Forman (6pts)hit huge baskets. Unfortunately Forman's last three came on the buzzer and the Hawks had run out of time, going down 82-81.
Adelaide will have discovered a couple of things to work on this week and rectify before it's double header in Far North Queensland next weekend. Wright will be keen to see his team refocus for a big road trip. While both games are against teams outside of the top four, each throws up a different challenge. Adelaide has yet to face Townsville and takes on a Cairns outfit that gave them problems in the previous matchup.
Wollongong will be gutted it lost this one, especially when it watches some of the errors on video. It missed some easy baskets and had some bad defensive lapses.
Adam Gibson (37min, 9pts, 6 reb, 6 ast)- Same ol, same ol. Solid contribution but outside shot was off (1/7 threes)
Gary Ervin (31min, 16pts, 4 reb, 4 ast)- A drop off from his recent hot form but was still ok. Coasted a little early but was switched on for the fourth.
Jarrid Frye (18min, 7pts, 5 reb, 0 ast)- Sat a lot in the second half as Wright largely went with a smaller lineup. His three was a welcome sight. His free throws....not so much.
Anthony Petrie (27min, 9pts, 9 reb, 1 ast)- Rebounded well but had little other impact.
Daniel Johnson-(26min, 16pts, 12 reb, 1 ast)- Also rebounded well and was our most dangerous offensive weapon.
Jason Cadee (22min, 10pts, 2 reb, 1 ast)- Some nice drives and two key threes. Nice follow up from last week's game.
Brendan Teys(s (2min, 0/0/0)- Only 1 slice of minutes and just missed 2 shots
Luke Schenscher (14min, 5pts, 4 reb, 0 ast). Threatened to have a big impact but was hamstrung by some over zealous refereeing.
BJ Anthony (13min, 6pts, 6 reb, 1ast). Worked hard and made a key contribution. Deserved a few more minutes.
Mitch Creek (5min, 4pts, 0 reb, 0 ast). No second half minutes which seemed odd (injury?). Did his part when on.