What a difference 48 hours makes. Adelaide looked like a completely different team to the one that fronted up in Illawarra thursday night. They attacked the rim. They rebounded. They played like this game was do or die. They were awesome.
For this review, I'll break it down player by player because there were plenty of great performances tonight.
ADAM GIBSON (8pts, 1 reb, 5 ast)
Hit a couple of handy 3's (2/2). Worked hard on D but was largely absent on O. Was fired up in the fourth, leading the defence and making a couple of good plays, none better than his pass to Ebi for a four point play to take our lead from 78-75 to 82-75.
BRENDAN TEYS (4pts, 1 reb)
Ok output considering his minutes. A big change for him falling back into a ninth/tenth man role.
JEROME RANDLE (4pts, 9 ast)
Low scoring but ran the offense beautifully, finding cutters and outside shooters (basically just Ebi). Good output for 18 minutes...then did his knee on a fast break when he stepped on Ogilvy's foot. Initial reports are it may not be an ACL. It looked like one to me but I am horrible at picking these things. Having watched his reaction and response for several minutes live, plus having experience doing my own ACL, medial and cartilage on various occasions, I'd say it's a medial at best. In any case, he'd be pretty much no chance to play finals and if it's an ACL it would rule him out of not only the playoffs but most of next season. Hanging on a medical report.
LUCAS WALKER (12pts, 10 reb)
Worked his backside off tonight and made key plays in the first and fourth quarters. Only got 18 minutes and paired beautifully with Creek. Great comeback game.
ANTHONY PETRIE (8pts, 3 reb)
Main job was to make AJ work hard. With that focus was never going to put up big numbers. Just ok.
NATHAN SOBEY (6pts, 2 ast)
Came out totally fired up but was too worked up, making a few silly plays (and no not the on at the end where he was purely thinking point differential). Has credits built up though after Thursday's excellent game.
DANIEL JOHNSON (19pts, 11 reb)
Was a bit more of a presence tonight and will need to give similar effort finishing the season against Pledger, Ogilvy and Jawai.
EBI ERE (28pts, 4 reb)
Wow. Joey mentioned post game that Ebi finally getting into shape has been the difference but it does seem he's also playing a bit more within himself. Three point shot has really come on and is now setting himself up to receive the ball in better spots, benefiting from Randle's playmaking. Always dangerous relying too much on a 34 year old but he's been huge in 2016.
MITCH CREEK (15pts, 9 reb)
Sensational. Attacked the rim at every chance on offense and got in the passing lanes regularly (5 steals) on defence. One of his best games in 2 years.
Besides the above, Adelaide's regularly switching defensive set-ups confused the Hawks, holding them to 2 points for the first 5:45 of the final quarter.
It was a great game to be at and is one of the best wins of the Wright era. Every team should be taking note. Getting a proven coach and a entertaining import will bring the crowds. A sellout with no free/2for 1 tix is an excellent result and Adelaide should continue to do this with good scheduling and a team that plays like they did tonight.
Let's just hope they get to see JR again this season.