3/31/14

Over To You, JC (Preview: 36ers vs Tigers 1/4/14)

Gary Ervin didn't just strike a blow to Chris Goulding's "man parts" yesterday. He also delivered a blow to the 36ers and their fan base, robbing the team of it's best chance to beat a worthy foe and get through to a coveted Grand Final series against Perth.

Ervin copped a large amount of flack yesterday for his actions. While his action was a classic "brain snap", some Sixers fans were just as guilty of the same when they turned on one of the key players who got us there. G-Money had a terrific Game 1 and a dismal Game 2, capped by his unsportsmanlike foul. The foul was stupid, cheap and so on but many of us have done silly things we're not proud of.

If you missed it, Ervin received an immediate penalty of a one game ban and $7.5k fine. He must also wear an ankle tracking device, not go within 100km of Melbourne, not say swear words and report to a parole officer daily. He also has a suspended two game and $10,000 fine hanging over his head. And I only made up that first sentence. The fine is excessive to say the least, especially the fine amount. It seems well out of step with recent penalty history. Whatever.

Without Ervin, Adelaide is robbed of one of it's best perimeter shooters and creators off the dribble. His loss hurts plenty. While Adelaide has plenty of options off the bench and especially at the point, none of them are Gary Ervin.

Enter Jason Cadee.

Cadee has filled in admirably for Ervin this year. When Ervin went for knee surgery and Cadee was thrust into the starting lineup, he averaged 11.5 points and 5 assists. The team went 2-0, scoring a big NYE win over Townsville and embarrassing New Zealand at home.

A few weeks later Cadee suffered his own injury, breaking a finger at training. He only missed one game but it must have been a magical finger because he's largely struggled since. Consider these numbers.

Pre-Injury:  7.4pts, 2.5ast, 42 FG%, 37 3PT%
Post Injury:  4.2pts, 2.6ast, 27 FG%, 21 3PT%

Cadee's assist numbers have been good of late but his perimeter game has gone south fast.

He'll split ball-handling duties with Gibbo and Carter but for Adelaide to win, he'll need to get to the rim and find some easy baskets for team mates. He'll also need to be far more aggressive and alert at the defensive end.

So can Adelaide win?

It's a tough ask. Despite the fact that it's back home, it now faces a Melbourne team that's found some answers and with Goulding in white-hot form.

The person who needs to step up the most tomorrow is Joey Wright. In 24 hours he has to ensure the players believe they can still pull off the win without their only import, devise a plan for Goulding and work out where the points will come from (remember DJ and Ervin combined for 21 yesterday). I'm hopeful Wright will throw caution to the wind and give Creek some decent minutes and even start him for Teys. I'd love to see  him let loose on Goulding.

In Adelaide's favour is several players are much stronger at home and I'd expect Creek, Carter and Schenscher to give far more tomorrow night than they did yesterday (ie nothing).

Melbourne will go after DJ and know that if they hold him under 20 they'll probably win. DJ will be playing under the most pressure of his career. If the Tigers can stop him and get good perimeter output from Goulding, Wortho and Balls they'll be heading for the GF.

I'm backing Joey to have a plan and for Cadee, Creek and Schensch to all have memorable performances.

My Tip: Adelaide by 4

*Editors Note: If Wright starts with a zone defense I will light myself on fire and start a "Bring Back Marty" facebook page


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