Adelaide 96, New Zealand 92
At quarter time, Adelaide led 26-17 and in my mind the Sixers were headed towards another huge win like the last time these two faced of. How wr-wr-wr-wrong I was.
The Sixers started sluggishly, with the teams swapping leads several times until a Gary Ervin 3 gave Adelaide a 14-11 lead. The Sixers kept the lead from there, with a Cadee/Ervin/Carter/Creek/Johnson lineup taking an 18-14 lead to 26-17 to finish the quarter.
The game got turned on it's head in the second, when the Breakers suddenly started nailing outside shots. Adelaide switched to a 2-3 zone and New Zealand, or more specifically Corey Webster, made them pay. The Breakers reserve hit three triples in under five minutes, forcing Adelaide to change tact. The Kiwis went from looking out of the game to suddenly being alive and they hit the lead at the 4:28 mark on the back of a Vukona two. New Zealand kept the lead and a 31-20 second quarter saw them leading 48-46 at the half.
Whatever Joey Wright said/screamed at the half worked, as Adam Gibson and Daniel Johnson came out with intent. A driving scoop shot from Rhys Carter gave Adelaide the lead for the first time in the period and this sparked a mini 7-0 run as a Creek drive and big Petrie three got Adelaide out to a 67-61 lead. Adelaide would not be headed again. Eight Sixers scored for the quarter as Joey Wright continued to run his rotations in a way that brought back memories of Marty Clarke. DJ scored 8, Gibson 4 and the rest all scored single baskets. It was Adelaide 71-69 going into the final period.
Adelaide built a six point lead in the fourth and started to look like it had the game under control.
Then CJ happened.
At the 00:37 mark, a Gary Ervin free throw had Adelaide leading 91-85. New Zealand called a timeout and worked it's plans to finish the game. They quickly worked the ball to CJ who nailed a tough 3 from the Andrew Warren memorial spot and had it back to a 2 point Adelaide lead, 91-89. Te Rangi fouled Adam Gibson on the inbounds and he coolly slotted both free throws to get Adelaide to 93-89. The Breakers worked the ball and found CJ free well above the top of the key. He didn't hesitate firing up a 30 footer and it was all of a sudden a one point game.
Gibson was fouled again on the inbounds and this time he nailed one of two, giving Adelaide a 2 point lead. Scary stuff. Next time down, now out of timeouts, CJ unselfishly passed to Abercrombie who had plenty of room but couldn't nail the three. Peach was fouled on the next play and hit one of two to get Adelaide to 95-92. Now in the penalty, Adam Gibson smartly fouled Corey Webster well outside to send him to the line. Webster missed the first and deliberately missed the second but that led to a violation. DJ got fouled, hit one of two and got Adelaide out of jail for a 96-92 win.
The game was closer than it should have been and the Breakers will wonder what could have been in Daryl Corletto hadn't have suffered an ankle injury early in the third that ruled him of the game and if Vukona, Frank and Johnson hadn't fouled out during the fourth. Abercrombie (18 points, 4 boards, 4 blocks) and Wilkinson (13 points, 14 boards, 5 assists) were both good for New Zealand and got handy bench help from Corey Webster (16 points) and Casey Frank 12 (on 6/6 shooting)
New Zealand's playoff chances now look shot while Adelaide still looks to have a mortgage on second spot. It will want to gets it defense and rotations sorted before the playoffs though to be confident of some post-season success.
Gibson- 11 assists, 17 points , 7 boards and 2 blocks in a stellar game. His fingerprints were all over this win as he came up with play after play.
Ervin- 17 points is a good number, but not on 6/19 shooting and not with 0 assists. Breakers were physical with him and he struggled to get many easy baskets. Focus also appears to be an issue at times, Wright noticeably yapping at him several times for not doing his job and Ervin a few too many times laughing instead of just putting his head down.
Teys- His best game as a Sixer as we finally saw him have success at both ends. Nailed a three, had a beautiful feed under the basket early to Peach early and had some nice defensive moments, especially pressuring Kerron Johnson. 3 steals.
Peach- generally pretty low key today but the third quarter three was huge.
Johnson- A monster offensively and finished beautifully, drawing four "And 1's" (hitting three of four extras). Got monstered a bit on the boards by Wilkinson but offensive work was a treat to watch.
Cadee- Ok but much can't be expected with his spotty minutes and need to play in so many three guard lineups.
Schenscher- Murdered by the refs for most of the game but had a big fourth as he gave the Sixers a much needed target. Took advantage of the Breakers big man foul issues.
Carter- Some nice plays today at both ends. Makes sense that he'd basically just split the 2 guard minutes with Gibbo but Joey seems content mixing and matching a lot, even playing lots of small lineups with Creek at the 4.
Anthony- Donuts today in limited time.
Creek- Out of sorts today, committing 4 turnovers as he tried to do a little too much with the ball at times. Not thriving in his new role backing up Brendan Teys.....
Other Random Thoughts
How does Casey Frank still not have his name on his jersey yet Carter has managed to get a road and heritage jersey complete with his name? And now he's No 12, wearing J Frye's old number. Too soon.
Remember how much we used to bag Marty for running all 10 guys so early? Well we must, to be fair to our former boss, point out Joey ran all 10 guys in a close contest IN THE FOURTH QUARTER! Made no sense to me. Let's just hoping he's working out which guards and rotations he's planning on using in the playoffs.
Kerron Johnson did some good things today but got frustrated way too easily and dropped his bundle. Plus he shot 1/10. Will the Breakers keep him around for 2014/2015?
Casey Frank. Can't say enough about how he plays and how much he's helped bring some pride and hustle to this Breakers team.
Unsure why Te Rangi doesn't get more PT. Has all the tools, just needs some court time.
|Points from Turnovers: 10 Points in the Paint: 46 Second Chance Points: 12 Fast Break Points: 0|
|Coach: Joey Wright Assistant: Kevin Brooks|