Wollongong 91, Adelaide 89
It happened again.
Adelaide's trouble defending the three ball bit it in the backside as it went down to the Hawks, 91-89. The Hawks hit 12/25 threes (48%) on their way to claiming another big scalp in their late playoff run. The Hawks have now won five straight and are breathing down Sydney's neck. The Hawks simply need to finish the season with the same number of wins as the Kings to claim 4th spot.
The game started ominously for Wollongong, with Adelaide punishing them on the offensive boards, grabbing five in the first three minutes. Adelaide got out to a 19-14 lead but then went cold, not scoring for the rest of the quarter as the plucky Hawks turned a 19-14 deficit into a 24-19 lead. Schenscher and Cadee came on for Petrie and Ervin and the offense turned to mush, with some terrible entry passes to Schenscher and some ill-advised long range shots.
The Sixers offense was hot early in the second period, sparked by two Rhys Carter threes. The team hit seven of it's first ten shots, then went one of ten to finish the half. Rhys Martin, who'd been very good in the first quarter, sparked a late surge as he took the Hawks from 41-41 to 46-41 on the back of a nice "And 1" and a beautiful feed to Forman for a lay-up. The Hawks shot 7/16 on threes for the half and 50% overall.
Rhys Martin started the third with a big three to give the Hawks a 49-41 lead. Ervin responded with a quick 2 but that six point buffer was as close as Adelaide would get for the period. Adelaide's bench did the bulk of the scoring as Ervin, Petrie, Gibson and DJ combined for 3 points for the period. Johnson only put up one field goal for the quarter, showing how "distracted" Adelaide's offense had become, with Teys, Carter and Cadee combining for 13 of Adelaide's 18 points for the period. The Hawks led by 12, 71-59 going into the last quarter.
Rhys Martin opened the fourth with a 3 point dagger and the Hawks lead got out to 15. Adelaide's big guns then came alive. Gibson and Ervin (who Steve Carfino refers to as the best backcourt in the league 17 times a game) came out smoking, leading a 15-0 run to get the game all tied up. Ervin scored 7 and Gibson 8, the Hawks unable to stop the barrage until Rhys Martin hit two quick buckets to get the lead back to 4. An Ervin triple and DJ basket got the Sixers the lead 79-78 before Rotnei Clarke, battling the flu, heated up. He scored 10 of the Hawks last 13 points to give the Hawks the win.
Adelaide will be gutted.
The Sixers again were largely beaten by the three ball and it's inability to stop the penetration of the Hawks guards. They shut down the bigs well, holding Forman, Davidson and Gruber to 20 points but Martin had a career high 32 as he, Clarke and Coenraad combined for 66 on 11/20 threes. The Hawks are playing some great basketball and are getting great play from it's guards while it's bigs just go to work and play their roles.
Adelaide's biggest issues rest on it's rotations and ability to defend the 3 ball. It's guard rotations are a mess. Wright is routinely playing three guards for large chunks of the game and the negatives are being outweighed by the positives. While Teys, Cadee and Carter all had their moments, it seems ludicrous that they are all playing between 12 and 20 minutes a game. The use of Teys and Carter seems to have killed off any of Mitch Creek's confidence as he looks lost oncourt, regularly only given a couple of minutes before being yanked to sit and watch. He hasn't been good of late and is hardly demanding a starters spot but I've no doubt he'd turn it around if given a starting spot and 25 minutes a night. He's starting to get a few charge calls go against him as he attacks the basket out of sheer desperation, not realising there's people camped in the key waiting for him.
This team won't win 2 of 3 in the playoffs with the starting lineup and rotations as they are.
Gibson- Minimal impact outside his big fourth quarter. Being asked to do a lot with so many minutes on bigger players.
Ervin- Had a massive fourth quarter but was largely absent early on. Some of his drives can only be described as "optimistic".
Teys- Can't really fault what he did but he's eating up too many minutes. Team balance has been thrown.
Petrie- Bothered by fouls but did well when he was on, coming up with several nice defensive plays, as well as a very clever tip-in in the dying stages to keep it close.
Johnson- Largely overlooked in the second half which is surprising considering how well he'd been playing. Big rebound game.
Cadee- Nowhere near as damaging with his shot deserting him and back to a walk the ball up role.
Schenscher- A couple of good plays overshadowed by some horrendous ones in the post.
Carter- A nice stat line for 17 minutes but is not really thriving in his streak shooter role. Plays hard D...as does Creek, Teys and Gibson. Can't fault his efforts, he's doing what he's always done but he hasn't really added to what the Sixers need.
Anthony- Just getting minutes spelling for fouls now as he's become the 10th man.
Creek- Still battling hard but looks a shell of himself since Frye departed. Bombers fan will be enjoying this.....
|Points from Turnovers: 7 Points in the Paint: 32 Second Chance Points: 12 Fast Break Points: 0|