The Sixers started Schensch over Montreal again and it paid off early, with the Sixers jumping the Breakers for an 8-0 lead. The Sixers benefited from some over zealous officiating and were in the penalty with over five minutes left in the quarter. Adelaide kept going inside but was unable to punish the Breakers and soon the local team turned an 0-8 deficit into a 28-19 quarter time lead.
Adelaide opened the second quarter well, going on a 7-2 run before Corey Webster (pictured) went on a tear, scoring 10 for the period. Adelaide's defense gave up far too many easy shots and on offense the team struggled to find a go-to man of their own.
Webster continued his hot form in the third, adding five quick points before Jackson got his eye in too, hitting three triples for the period. The Breakers dismantled Adelaide with aggressive defense and sheer size inside on both ends. The only bright spot for Adelaide was seeing DQ work his way into the game. He'd tallied 3 fouls in just over a minute of play in the first half but started to find some rhythm in the third.
The Sixers again came out strong to open a quarter, stunning the Breakers with a 20-4 run to get the score back to 85-75 before the Breakers
That 20-4 run in the fourth was good but the Sixers were equally bad in other stretches of the game. The team lacked leadership, a clear go-to man, bench help and passion. Not good. The Breakers will be a certain finals team but that performance was tough to watch from a team that went 4-0 against New Zealand last year and played in the finals.
The team still needs time to gel but there's a few little cracks I'm seeing at this early stage.
Like last year, the team lacks enough outside shooting. The modern offensive game is largely built upon shots within 8 feet and threes. Adelaide went 6/16 from range, New Zealand 12/24. Gibson and Montreal shot the ball well from range but no-one else nailed one tonight. Crawford so far has had a pretty minimal role but should be given more time and a green light.
It's early days but there's certainly been some moments of selfish play. This could be Wright's biggest challenge. He's juggling two guys who started last year as "spare parts" but quickly showed they deserve to be in the rotation. There's two imports with different motivations- one to show he belongs and the other that he still has plenty of basketball to play. There's a veteran in the twilight of his career who is dealing with a reduced role and young gun desperate to show he's worthy of a starting spot and is ready to take the next step. That's a lot to manage.
NZ won the rebound count 48-31 and smashed the Sixers 16-8 in the last quarter. Ibekwe (11) and Wesley (10) combined for 21 boards and Schensch (2), Montreal (3) and Petrie (5) tallied 10 together. Most damning for Adelaide's frontcourt is that Creek pulled down 8 and Gibson 7.
Jackson, Ibekwe, Webster,Abercrombie and Wesley all played key roles for the home team while Adelaide struggled to find any consistent contributors besides Creek and Gibson.
Next up for Adelaide is Wollongong. The Sixers will again be tested by size (Luke Nevill) and the dynamic Carson/Ervin backcourt. G-Money will be counting down the days......
NEW ZEALAND 101
Webster-23 pts, 3 reb
Wesley- 15 pts, 10 reb
Jackson- 15 pts, 3 ast
Wilson- 15 pts, 4 reb
Creek- 13pts, 8 reb
Montreal- 13pts, 3 reb