Adelaide 99, New Zealand 73
With Adelaide leading 50-36 at halftime, you would have expected them to get over the line. Adelaide had brutalised the Breakers in the first half and showed no signs of slowing down. You'd excuse any fan who was cautious though, considering some famed Breakers comebacks in this building and Adelaide's inability this year to totally put teams away. Oh and we were without Gary Ervin. This 36ers team though is now starting to truly take shape as a championship team.
The Sixers jumped New Zealand, getting out to a 16-6 lead by the 4:13 mark. Joey Wright made three subs and the team just continued to build a buffer. Adelaide was already causing New Zealand headaches with it's size and hustle and bringing in Creek and Schensch only compounded the Breakers woes. While Adelaide was missing Gary Ervin, the Breakers were without Alex Pledger. Ervin is at another level talent wise but Pledger was probably more sorely missed by his team considering Adelaide's size advantage. At the offensive end, the Breakers were settling for jumpers and at the other end were forced to foul to stem the flow of points. Vukona and Wilkinson got in foul trouble early, forcing their coach Dean Vickerman to play some small ball lineups. This didn't work out well for the visitors, who found themselves having to defend the likes of Mitch Creek and Jarrid Frye with Daryl Corletto, Formerly CJ Bruton or Corey Webster. Adelaide led 26-12 at quarter time.
It was more of the same in the second as Adelaide continued to go inside at every opportunity. That was except for the times they weren't creating 3 on 2 fast breaks.Schenscher and DJ were proving near impossible to guard with Adelaide's excellent passing , enabling the bigs to shoot from inside 5 feet. Adelaide kept the scoring up but New Zealand, largely thanks to Tom Abercrombie (9 for the quarter) and Gary Wilkinson (8 for the quarter), managed to at least keep up. It was 50-35 at the half
In the third quarter Adelaide kept the pace going. The Breakers bigs barely fired a shot while their guards continued to offer little. Veterans CJ Bruton and Daryl Corletto both went scoreless for the game in a combined 37 minutes. Corletto was 0/5 while CJ incredibly didn't even get off a shot. And it wasn't like they were exactly getting stops at the other end. At the end of the third it was Adelaide 74-48 and all we wanted to know know was at what point we'd see Doyle and Adnam.
Adelaide's lead was at 22 when we finally got our first look at Adam Doyle. He's waited for a season and a half to get on court and he came on with 2:43 left. He'd pulled in a rebound and missed a 3 when Kyle Adnam also came on at the 1:43 mark. By the end of the game both guys had scored, with Doyle scoring off an impressive drive and Adnam also scoring off a drive but his shot was goaltended to earn his first points. Adelaide got to rest it's stars with only DJ playing over 30 minutes and Adelaide took it's streak against the Breakers to 3.
The Breakers are now officially out of it. The win over Sydney was fools gold as this team looks tired, old and with too few tricks in it's book. The fact it has yet to beat Perth or Adelaide speaks volumes about where it's at. It's badly missing Ced-Jax, especially on defense as it's guards are either too small or too slow. Vukona is getting in foul trouble too often and Wilkinson can't tackle the 7 footers effectively. It may be willing to take time with Johnson but he needs a stopper next to him, not Corletto or CJ.
Adelaide continues it's hot form even without Ervin and looks to have learned from those two losses in Queensland. Cadee and Schenscher are making key contributions and it's starters are all playing at a high level.
Gibson (29min, 4pts, 6 reb, 7 ast). Played D and picked his spots. Some great passing and leadership.
Cadee (27min, 5pts, 4 reb, 4 ast). Shot was wayward early but hit some baskets late, including Adelaide's only 3. Messed around a little with the ball at times when he just could have lobbed it inside.
Frye (29min, 10pts, 4 reb, 3 ast). Probably about what we should expect from him- some athletic drives, rebounds and missed free throws (0/5).
Petrie (22min, 10pts, 13 reb, 3 ast). Totally outplayed Mika Vukona and even rested most of the second half. Stellar performance.
Johnson (32min, 26pts, 9 reb, 3 ast). How dominant was he? Hit 9/18 shots and 8/9 free throws, as well as recording 3 blocks. Was aggressive as he should have been against the undersized Breakers and even got a nice throw down dunk on a breakaway.
Teys (14min, 5pts, 1 reb, 0 ast). Found his shot but otherwise didn't have an influence.
Schenscher (14min, 13pts, 11 reb, 1 ast). Had his way inside and looked as good as he has this year.
Creek (22min, 20pts, 3 reb, 3 ast). Complete energy game and didn't take a three. 9/12 from the field and was everywhere, either getting steals, grabbing boards or soaring for dunks.
Anthony (4min, 2pts, 0 reb, 0 ast). Why so few minutes? Because he fouled out! Needs to get the dumb fouls sorted as when opportunities come for more minutes (like in this game) he must remind the coach what he can do.
Doyle (2min, 2pts, 1 reb, 1 ast). Been waiting to see how he goes and despite his lack of size looked good and comfortable on the stage (except for an airball 3)
Adnam (1min, 2pts, 0 reb, 0 ast). Looks like a 14yr old cast member from Summer Bay but has serious speed.