Perth 92, Adelaide 85
On the flight home to Adelaide, Joey Wright might want to pop this movie on for his team to check out......
A 42-33 rebounding edge (with the nine differential coming on offensive rebounds) helped Perth hold off a feisty 36ers outfit in Perth last night to take a 1-0 lead in their Grand Final series. The Cats now head to Adelaide on a high, confident they can shut down Adelaide's offense and expose their defense.
Daniel Johnson opened the scoring for the game but a tough "And 1" by James Ennis and dunk by Matthew Knight had Perth out to a 5-2 lead and looking dangerous. The Cats were a handful, bombing from range routinely and if they did miss, often came up with the offensive boards (or at least keeping the ball alive). Beal nailed two threes for the quarter while Redhage and Ennis went to work inside. Adelaide's main threat was Daniel Johnson who started on fire, nailing 10 for the quarter as he showed his full arsenal of moves. At the end of the quarter it was Perth, 29-24.
The Cats won the second quarter 22-16 but that scoreline doesn't justify how much they dismantled Adelaide. They owned the boards, stopped DJ and continued to hit threes, with Beal racing to 15 first half points as the Cats stretched Adelaide's defense to it's limits. Adelaide was so out of sync it regularly had no-one within shouting distance of shooters. When players did make belated attempts to get to the perimeter, the keyway was left open and Perth helped themselves to 10 offensive rebounds for the quarter. Offensively, the Sixers had to scrap for everything. Daniel Johnson's basket at the 4:33 mark would be his last field goal for the next 24 minutes. The Cats led comfortably 51-40 at the half and looked to be on their way to 100- always a bad sign for Adelaide.
The third quarter was a low scoring affair but the Cats still held the edge, 18-17. Gary Ervin opened Adelaide's account with a 3 and then wouldn't score again for the match. He'd been the focus of Perth's crowd and didn't seem to be too bothered but he was just bad again on their court. Adam Gibson, who'd primarily been passing for the first half (9 assists for the game), started to shoot more and tallied 5 for the quarter to lead Adelaide. Perth led by 12, 69-57 going into the last period.
Adelaide's only hopes appeared to rest on it's guards getting lucky with some threes while getting some stops at the other end.. Petrie opened the fourth with two quick baskets to get it back to 69-61 but from there, the lead regularly stayed around double digits with Adelaide getting it back to 77-69 on two Gibson threes, 84-78 on a Cadee three and 87-83 on a BJ Anthony three point play. The Cats only scored three field goals for the quarter with an incredible 16 of their 23 coming from the line. 10 of those came from the hands of James Ennis who attacked the basket non-stop...and about 50% of the time was legitimately fouled. It resulted in a 92-85 win and the Cats will head to Adelaide with some belief they have the ability to stop the Sixers and wrap this up in two.
So how does Adelaide recover?
Well for starters there was apparently a bout of gastro going through the team with Creek the most affected. He gave nothing and should be good for Friday. Rhys Carter also went scoreless, Jason Cadee scored 3 on 1/7 shooting and Gary Ervin, from whom much was required, scored 8 points on 2/8 shooting with 4 turnovers.
James Ennis and Jermaine Beal were both huge and were allowed to "do their thing" while their team mates went to work. Damian Martin and Greg Hire in particular put in performances the stats don't justify. Some rebounds, blocks and steals that deflated their opponents.
Perth was certainly lifted by it's massive crowd and Adelaide will expect the same at home with a sellout crowd expected for the first time since the Brett Maher era. The Cats haven't been as deadly from range in Adelaide but have won the offensive boards decisively in the two previous AA games, averaging 7.5 more offensive boards in the two clashes. Adelaide will score more freely at home in theory but expect the Cats to push the rules to the limits, knowing that they have a home Game 3 up their sleeve if required.
To quote a scholar- it will be on like Donkey Kong.
Gibson- Distributor in the first half, scorer in the second. Asked a lot of defensively and often caught in bad spots. One of our best though.
Ervin- Perth stop him in the key better than most and he couldn't provide the spark needed. Defensively a liability due to often getting switched onto much bigger opponents.
Teys- Battled hard all night and was extremely efficient. Not a good sign though if he's our second highest scorer.
Petrie- Better second half but was down a little.
Johnson- Awesome first quarter, then faded. Threw up a few awful shots out of desperation, too often forcing the issue and not playing at his tempo. Hopefully learned something.
Cadee- Threw up some bad shots and reacted too slowly at at times defensively. Needs to watch that game a few times back on video.
Schenscher- Perfect from the line and the field and provided a target offensively and some resistance defensively. If he avoids foul trouble will play a lot in Game 2.
Carter- A night to forget.
Anthony- Key basket late but only got 5 minutes of playing time.
Creek- 2 fouls his only stat, so yeh not good. Will be happy to be at home Friday.
BOX SCORE FROM NBL.COM.AU
|Points from Turnovers: 12 Points in the Paint: 32 Second Chance Points: 10 Fast Break Points: 0|
|Coach: Joey Wright Assistant: Kevin Brooks|