Remain Calm People! (Review: 36ers v Cairns 10/10/14)

Any Sixers fan who watched the game last night and caught a glimpse of the preceding and following games might already be feeling very nervous. They shouldn't. Yet.

In the Wollongong/Townsville game, we learnt both teams have got great imports and plenty of size. The Breakers were flat out scary against the Cats, showing they've got plenty of size, speed and shooting. Perth looked like a mish mash for much of the game though and Adelaide will take comfort from that.

The Sixers started with the expected lineup of Wilson/Gibson/Creek/Montreal/Petrie/ That's a pretty dynamic and flexible lineup.....but also a pretty small one. Early on, Adelaide lacked any great ball movement and clearly missed it's go to player from the past few seasons, Daniel Johnson. Luckily Jamar Wilson is good at getting to the basket and kept the scoreboard ticking over.

At the other end, the Sixers had their hands full with the Taipans array of outside shooters and inside scorers. Coach Wright threw out plenty of lineups, trying Schensch and a little more BJ but the Sixers really struggled to contain Wilbekin and the newly inserted Torrey Craig, who was hitting from everywhere. At half-time Cairns led 48-41.

In the second half Adelaide struggled to make up any ground with Wilson taking less shots and the team struggling to find any consistent scorers besides Mitch Creek, who showed some range with three triples for the night. Outside Creek and PC (2-2), the Sixers hit 1/9 threes and struggled from inside largely too, the only positive being the 25 points it earned from the line.

The Sixers have plenty of scorers but will need to find some reliable outside shooters and sort out the big man mix soon. Montreal was happy mixing it up low but will take time to adjust to the bigger bodies in the NBL. Petrie probably needs a little more run for him and extra minutes. Schensch looked physically good but didn't see much of the ball. BJ should probably be in the 5-10 minute range while the starters learn each others games.

In the backcourt, Gibbo was largely absent in the first half but got more involved as the game went on. He and Wilson will take some time to mesh. Jamar looked very good going to basket but will need to get others involved more and be a threat from outside.

Creek,Teys and PC all showed plenty and Wright will need time to work out how and when to use each of them.

The talent is there, it will just take time to blend. The lack of size though will be an ongoing problem. It might have been the wrong year to go with a small ball lineup. The team was out rebounded 41-29 by Cairns, which is a bit like being outclassed by Shane Warne. The frontcourt faces a huge test  tomorrow against the Conklin/Gladness frontcourt. It could be a long day if Gladness matches up on Montreal and Conklin on Petrie.

Cairns on the other hand showed they don't have a mortgage on the wooden spoon as many have predicted. Both imports are very good. Craig is an impressive athlete with a good three point shot. Wilbekin is a good floor leader with a great range of inside moves. They will revitalise the Taipans veterans and make the team very hard to guard.

It's going to be a great NBL season.

Wilbekin 23pts, 3 ast
Craig 19pts, 7 reb
Loughton 15pts, 6 reb

Wilson 22pts, 5 reb
Creek 16pts, 6 reb
Petrie 13pts, 4 reb


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