Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Round 4 NBL weekend Preview

Round 4 of the NBL is a big one with 6 games being played across the weekend starting on Halloween.

On Thursday night we will get to see the New Zealand Breakers taking on the Adelaide 36ers in NZ. This should be tough game with both teams coming away from a loss. The Breakers at the moment are at the bottom of the ladder and have decided to recruit former import forward Gary Wilkinson to help on offense. Whether this will get them over the line against a stacked line up from the Adelaide 36ers we will see on Halloween. The Breakers will have the home court advantage on their side and it will be loud. This game has some excellent match ups on the floor, with both teams having a genuine 7 foot centre (NZ Alex pledger, ADL Daniel Johnson), a gun import guard (NZ Kerron Johnson, ADL: Gary Ervin) and some forwards who like to play tough in Mika Vukona and Anthony Petrie. New Zealand may have the edge on Adelaide in that Adelaide are bit lacking in outside shooting. They have several players that can make the 3 but not at the clip that players like Darryl Corletto and CJ Bruton can, combining this and the home court advantage im picking new Zealand to get the win by 5 in what will be an entertaining and highly physical match up of two good teams.

Friday has two games with the first being the Townsville Crocodiles playing host to the Sydney Kings.
Townsville are known to play hard and this year have been playing some good unselfish basketball and for them to get the win this is what they will have to keep up. They need to pass a lot and let every player get a good touch of the ball. Townsvilles point guard Steven Markovic has been doing an incredibly good job at getting his team into the game and is distributing very well but will need the imports Josh Pace and Brian Conklin to hit some shots and get them going offensively. Sydney on the other hand need to get AJ Ogilvy the ball on the post. When they do they look a lot better on offense and opens up their shooters. Last week Sydney did well to stick with the Wildcats but fell short in the final quarter and couldn't get anything to work. They will be looking to get over that harsh loss with a win in their first game of this round.
Im picking Townsville to get the win at their home court by 4.

The second game on Friday night will be the Perth Wildcats taking on the Wollongong Hawks in Perth. At home the Wildcats who have looked absolutely unstoppable should easily get the win over the Hawks, but if all the Hawks players are hitting their shots and play within head coach Geordie McCleod system stranger things have happened. I'm picking the Wildcats by 12 because its a home game otherwise it might be a bit closer.

Saturday only has the one game with the Cairns Taipans at home taking on the Melbourne Tigers. These two
teams are quickly becoming a couple of my favorite teams. Cairns have put together a great looking squad with two gun import guards surrounded by an excellent shooting line up. I think all of them can explode on any given night and with the pressure off Jamar Wilson to alone create the plays its opened them up to be very dangerous. The Tigers this year are looking good with Chris Goulding showing he hasn't lost any of his fire power scoring 29 points last week and will be keen to keep that momentum going. If Mark Worthington is also making his drives and shots he is also a big threat on offense and is smart defensive player. This will be an entertaining game with the edge going to the Taipans due to the home court advantage to win by 6.

On Sunday we again have two games to watch.
In Adelaide the 36ers are taking on the Sydney Kings. This is the second game for both teams this round but the Kings played on Friday which may mean they a little more fatigued. I think Adelaide match up better against the Kings having more players that like to play a little harder and more physical. Adelaide should have an easier run on the inside and if they can contain Sydney's outside shooting they should run away with the W. Im picking Adelaide to win by 8.

The second game on Sunday is in Wollongong with the Hawks taking on the New Zealand Breakers with a tough round for the Hawks taking on both of last years two finalists. Wollongong will be thirsty for a win if they were beaten on Friday in Perth and will have be looking to play hard against the Breakers. The
breakers may be a bit disoriented matching up against the Hawks after playing the 36ers with these two teams playing completely different styles. The Hawks are very structured while the 36ers like a run and gun style. This may play into the Hawks favor and with a home town advantage they may be able to pull out the win. The Breakers will also be adjusting to the addition of Gary Wilkinson into the line up and may slow them down against Wollongongs structure play making. Rotnei Clark will have to be hitting his shots and if Rhys Martin can continue the form we saw late in last weeks game against Townsville they should get the win but it will be a hard fought game. I'm picking Wollongong to win by 2 at home.

So it looks like i have picked every home team to win this round. lets hope the odds are little less inclined in this way.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Weekend wrap up: Round 3

We had 5 games to watch this weekend it was an interesting round with apart from anyone playing Perth most of the home teams taking away the wins. Perth managed to again get 2 back to back wins over the weekend carried by the amazing talent that is James Ennis.

In game one of the round we saw the New Zealand Breakers take on the Perth Wildcats in New Zealand. The Wildcats were the underdogs according to the bookies in this game paying out $2.60 in a game i expected to be very close. The Wildcats pulled away from the Breakers and never looked back winning 89-96. James Ennis had another big night finishing with 29 points 6 rebounds and 2 assists and if he stays for the full season he should be a lock for the MVP. For the breakers Kerron Johnson top scored with 17 points and 5 rebounds. The Breakers have since decided to let import forward Darnell Lazare go and to recruit former Breakers player Gary Wilkinson back into the line up. This should give them some extra fire power going up against the Adelaide 36ers next round.

Friday night was the Cairns Taipans taking on the Adelaide 36ers in Cairns. Adelaide managed to get the win over the Taipans behind some last quarter heroics from Mitch Creek who can often be a bit unpredictable as to what type of night he is going to have, but finished with 14 points with some crucial 3 pointers down the stretch. This was a game of quarters with both teams taking it in turns as to who controlled the quarter. The Taipans had an 18 point lead in the first half and an 11 point lead going into the final quarter but the 36ers got the shots when it counted and won by 3, (87-84). Creek top scored for the 36ers with 14 followed closely by Adam Gibson, Anthony Petrie and Jarrid Frye with 13. For the Taipans forward Alex Loughton looked
unstoppable for large portions of the game and finished with 22 points followed by Jamar Wilson with 17.

The Wollongong Hawks took on the Townsville Crocodiles at home on Saturday where they managed to get the win 85-81 on their 1000th game in the NBL. Wollongong's Imports Kevin Tiggs and Rotnei Clark supplied most of the fire power for the Hawks with Clark finishing with 23 and Tiggs with 20. It was a tight game with Townsville never letting them break away but it was a timely steel by Rotnei Clark and 7 straight points from Kevin Tiggs including a nice alley oop off a pass from Rhys Martin that got them over the line in the final quarter. Jacob Holmes was hitting every shot around the keyway and top scored for the Crocodiles finishing with 14. 

Sunday was a double header with two teams playing that had already played this round. 
The Perth Wildcats managed to get their 5th straight win of the season against the Sydney Kings in Sydney. It was a close game up until the fourth quarter when the Kings couldn't get anything going on offense and the Wildcats were unstoppable on their end of the court. Jermaine Beal looks to have his shot working and top scored for the game with 24 points and he sparked the 14 point run in the final quarter that secured the Wildcats the win. James Ennis was again unstoppable finishing with 18. For the kings AJ Ogilvy top scored with 17 followed by some hot shooting from Ben Madgen who is still recovering from injury with 15 points.

The Final game of the round saw the Adelaide 36ers take on the Melbourne Tigers in Melbourne. Melbourne managed to get the win 93-79 behind some amazing shooting from Chris Goulding who finished with 29 points of 11-22 shots. The Tigers managed to hold off the tiring 36ers who played only 36 hours before against Cairns. There was a nice battle between the ex Gold Coast players of Mark Worthington and Chris Goulding for the Tigers and Anthony Petrie, Adam Gibson and Jason Cadee for the 36ers. Mark Worthington had a tough night and couldn't get anything to drop through the basket early but managed to finally get some shot and drives to go in through the second half finishing with 17 points. For the 36ers Daniel Johnson was imposing under the basket and top scored for his team with 20 followed by Gary Ervin with 16 and Anthony Petrie with 15 points on the night. 

This was an entertaining round with some big plays from some of the stars of the league and all my bets managed to come in. Its great to see the league with more parity between teams this season with the exception being Perth for now. I'm looking forward to next round and ill try to give my tips before round 4 begins on Halloween.

Monday, 28 October 2013

New Zealand Breakers recruit former Breaker Gary Wilkinson

The New Zealand Breakers have decided to release import forward Darnell Lazare and put Jeremiah trueman on a waiver both of whome have had a rough start to the season. This has freed up enough on the points cap to sign former import Gary Wilkinson. This is a great pick up for the Breakers as Wilkinson was with the breakers in their first 2 championships and is a big man who can shoot from long range. He was excellent at spreading the floor and drawing out defensive big men from the inside freeing up the Breakers guards to penetrate to the rim or kick it out to the 3 point shooters. Wilkinson will make his start with the Brakers on Thursday night against the Adelaide 36ers.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Adelaide 36ers down Cairns Wildcats in a game of quarters

The Adelaide 36ers defeated the Cairns Taipans in Cairns last night in a game that swung on quarters. The taipans lead by 18 points in the first half and by 11 at the final break but weren't up to stop a re-surging 36ers squad. Mitch Creek had a big game hitting the important shots to finish as the 36ers leading scorer at 14 points followed closely by Adam Gibson and Anthony Petrie with 13. For the Taipans Alex Loughton looked unstoppable finishing with 22 points and Jamar Wilson was firing from all cylinder finishing with 17 points and 6 rebounds.

Cairns started off making no mistakes as they headed to an easy looking 29-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Adelaide couldn't make a shot to start the game and Cairns were doing everything right hitting their shots and pulling down the scrappy rebounds while Adelaide just looked slow on defense. Demetri McCamey had a huge block on Gary Ervin who just couldn't get his game going with 0-5 shots.

The first quarter was owned by the Taipans but as we saw it was game of quarters and Adelaide came to play in the second. Jarrid Frye started his hot streak with the first 4 points after the first break and was very dangerous on offense finishing the game with 13 points. Adam Gibson got going in the second quarter and made some important defensive stops as well as some big plays and the 36ers were back with 1 minute. On the Buzzer Gibson makes a 2 with some good defense from Perth and the half closes 44-45.

Perth picked up their game in the 3rd quarter and Demitri McCamey came out pumped off a nice three pointer and they took a 7 point run. Gary Ervin finally gets his shot as the commentators comment on his poor play but Cairns just too good behind exceptional offensive plays from McCamey and Alex Loughton and hold the lead 66-55.

Anthony Petrie and Adam Gibson make some nice 3 point plays to get the 36ers back to only a 4
point deficit and Adelaide are pushing it with Mitch Creek getting another 3 point play to get them down by 1 with 4 minutes left in the game. At this point 10 fouls have been called in the quarter and both teams see a lot of the free throw line to close it out. Mitch Creek continued his break out performance with a long 3 to take the lead 79-76 with 1:35 left in the game. Following this Gary Ervin makes a nice floater and the 36ers are up by 4 and maintain the lead to close it out from the free throw line. Cairns kept trying to pull it back but Gary Ervin free throw shooting just holds them in front and the Adelaide 36ers win 84-87.

Cairns are looking good this season and they were missing the sharp shooting of Cam Gliddon who is a rising star in the league and got rookie of the year last year. This was a tight game that played out in a swinging control of the 4 quarters but Adelaide having the better final quarter to win it.

The Perth Wildcats continued their winning streak with a win over the New Zealand breakers in Auckland

The Perth Wildcats beat the New Zealand Breakers 89-96 on Thursday night at the North shore events centre. In round 3 of the NBL this is the 4th straight win by the Wildcats to start the season and they are starting to look unbeatable. James Ennis was at his impressive best finishing with 29 points and Jermaine Beal looks to have finally got his shot working since arriving in Australia and finished with 19. For the Breakers their import point Guard Kerron Johnson top scored with 19 points and Alex Pledger had 16. A key match up and definitely the most athletic match up was between James Ennis and Tom Abercrombie, getting in early foul trouble Abercrombie was forced to sit out large portions of the game and finished with 14 points.

Daryl Corlletto started hot hitting the first 5 points of the game and Perth were not being able to get it through the rim. The breakers were on fire but with 5 quick fouls for New Zealand Perth were able to catch up a little finishing the quarter  26-17. A first quarter highlight was a blocked dunk by the breakers rookie Reuban Terangi on dunk that was about to be HUGE by James Ennis. It was called a foul but it was all ball and Posterised James Ennis with some surprising athleticism from the rookie. Ennis had a slow start not making his first field goal till the last 30 seconds of the quarter but immediately followed that with a full court drive and lay up to finish the quarter.Alex Pledger dominated the paint early with 8 points in the opening quarter.

Mika Vukona worked hard all game and was winning the battle between himself and Perth's Shawn Redhage with some great Defense and quick footwork getting around him with ease. It was a fast paced second quarter with both teams running the floor and working hard. Tom Abercrombie was doing well on defense trying to contain James Ennis but when he picked up his 3rd foul he again had to take a seat and Perth just took the lead 36-37.
In the last 27 seconds and last play of the half Kerron Johnson runs the floor on a fast break but slows it down to find an open CJ bruton to hit the 3 at the end of the shot clock not giving Perth enough time to get a bucket as the half closes with the Breakers just up 47-45.

Jesse Wagstaff had a big game finishing with 17 points and made the shots when it counted with 4-5 from long range half way through the 3rd quarter keeping Perth in front 56-52. Alex Pledger kept the Breakers alive cleaning up the scraps around the basket and is an imposing force on the inside. Perth keep a 5 point lead at the end of the 3rd quarter 67-72 and Tom Abercrombie picked up his 4th foul in the last 20 seconds of the quarter. Through the game Abercrombie did the best at containing Ennis but with such limited court time his impact was denied.

Starting the final quarter the Breakers kept fouling and Mika Vikona got his 4th in the first minute back on the court and the Wildcats took off to a 10 point lead with 7 minutes left to play. When Darnell Lazare made a big block on Damian Martin the crowd got loud and CJ bruton stepped up to keep them in the competition with some great plays from the veteran, doing everything and with Kerron Johnson's amazing speed the Breakers were only down by 4 with 4 minutes left 81-85. James Ennis got a huge dunk over Kerron Johnson but Johnson immediately answers with a one man fast break and drive keeping the Breakers alive. A lot of fouls were called with two hard working teams, with 2 players from both teams fouling out. In the end the Breakers just couldn't run down the wildcats losing by 7 points 89-96.

The Perth wildcats are on a 4-0 run and with James Ennis in the lineup they are starting to look unbeatable. I'm sure all the Wildcats fans are hoping the Miami heat wont need Ennis any time soon.
In a post game interview James Ennis spoke about his time in Australia; "I'm loving it, everyone's competing." When asked about the differences between NBA and NBL he aptly stated "Its the big athleticism over there here everyone likes to shoot."
I'm not a Wildcats fan but i'm also hoping he stay's, for a while longer at least, he is a very exciting player to watch.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Mathew Dellavedova looking good to make the final Cleveland Cavaliers roster

Mathew Dellavadova looks good to get a shot in the NBA with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Head Coach Mike Brown may have let out the final selections for the Cleveland Caveliers final 2 roster spots after mondays game. “We have four rookies,” he said. “Two of them will be undrafted in Henry Sims and Dellavedova.” Those two players are expected to earn the last two roster spots.
During the Preseason Mike Brown has been playing Kyrie Irving and Dellavedova together on the floor to open up Kyrie as a shooting guard and to decrease his pressure at the point. 
“It gives Kyrie a chance to do something different,” he said. “The defense has to adjust to something different. It gives (Irving) an opportunity to play off the basketball. It puts two really good primary ball handlers on the floor. It gives you a lot of flexibility.”
Mathew Dellavedova was given a chance to show his skills when the Cavaliers no. 2 point guard Jarret Jack had to sit out due to injuries. Kyrie Irving looks to enjoy playing the 2 spot with an ease of pressure running the point.
"For the first time in my first three years I can actually play there comfortably now,'' Irving said after Monday's game. "I know all the positions on the floor, especially from the 2-spot. It allows me to not exert so much energy dribbling the ball, especially at the top of the key. I get to come off some screens. It's something we go through every day in practice. Me being at the 2-spot just opens up the lane for our bigs and our shooters in the corner.''
Lets hope he makes the roster and gets to see some decent minutes during the regular season.

Patty Mill leads the Spurs past the Magic in the NBA preseason

With Tony Parker sitting out Patty Mills explodes for 22 points, 5 steals and 2 blocks in the Spurs preseason game against the Magic. He looks to be in good form heading into the start of the season and hopefully we will get to see him get some decent minutes in the regular season. Iv added a small highlights clip from which shows some of his plays and the quick inbound steal Patty seems to get quite a lot off a made shot.

New Zealand Breakers face the Perth Wildcats in Auckland: Preview

The Perth wildcats are on a 3-0 winning streak which may come to an end against the New Zealand Breakers in Auckland on Thursday. This will be a great game with last years two championship teams battling it out. The Breakers should have the edge with it being at their home court but Perth gave them a thrashing in their first game on home soil last year. So will we see a repeat or will the breakers manage to stop the run the wildcats are hoping to get as the season is only begining to start. The match up of Tom Abercrombie and James Ennis will be exciting to see with these two being some of the most athletic players in the leageu and im expecting to see some big plays above the ring. The Wildcats look to be in good form and the additition of James Ennis has bolstered the lineup to be a very tough team to beat. For the breakers to get the win they will have to try to contain Ennis. He has seen to nearly be unstoppable and if that again is the case they must limit the offensive presence Shawn Redhage and Tom Jervis can have. When the wildcats have faltered this season to much offense has been run through Ennis and the rest of the team dried up on shooting. But locking out players like Damian Martin and Shawn Redhage will be very tough for the breakers. The Breakers are on a bit of loosing streak, going 0-2 in the North Qld weekend last ruond and if this is still in their head a team with head full of steam like the Wildcats may yet run them off the court. On offense i think the Breakers have everything they need to get a win. With a healthy CJ bruton and Kerron Johnson running the lanes with his impressive speed offense shouldnt be a problem, containing the Wildcats may be their toughest trial. Centrebet is paying Perth $2.60 and New Zealand $1.50 for the win. With a payout like that a bet on Perth would not go astray as they have had 3 back to back wins and New Zealand are coming off two losses. But how big an effect the home court has can never be calculated.
This will be a close game and i think the home court advantage will be the difference with the Breakers getting up on the Wildcats by 2.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Cairns hold off New Zealand for their first match up win in 3 years

The Cairns Taipans held off the New Zealand breakers for the first time in 3 years behind a spectacular performance from Cam Cliddon.  Gliddon shooting at 82% finished with 24 points with 13 of them in the third quarter. Cairns held onto a tough win 86-85. It was a tight game with the Breakers never letting the Taipans get too far away from them. Cairns held the lead after a blistering start from Cam Tragardh who finished with 13 points in 12 minutes. Breakers held them close with the lead getting to a high of 8 points for the Taipans, but the breakers kept pulling it back. It was a physical battle with several players hitting the floor across the second half. Mika Vukona got called for a foul as Demitri McCamey drove past him and Vukona gives a little tackle as he goes to the floor and McCamey postures for a fight. I'm not sure the refs in North Queensland got the memo on the rule revisions. Jamar Wilson chipped a tooth and acted like it didn't happen as he played on. Wilson has stepped up to show what a force he can be in the league, as he controlled the tempo in the game. His stats of 3 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists doesn't correctly show his impact on the floor, but his play making was impressive to watch. Cairns head coach Aaron Fearne made an excellent decision getting a second import guard in Demetri McCamey who could take some of the pressure off Wilson as a play maker to open up his already impressive shooting line up. He made some big plays driving to the hole picking up 17 points in total.

New Zealand's import guard Kevin Johnson filled the stat sheet with 18 points, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 rebounds and CJ Bruton had a big game with a lot of minutes finishing with 15 points. CJ had the shot for the win with an open 3 but missed on the buzzer. That shot has and will sink several teams hopes in the dyeing seconds. I think CJ is what the Breakers were missing on Friday's game against Townsville. His impact for the Breakers as a leader and for his cool shooting can not be underestimated. The breakers were down by 3 in the final 30 seconds as Wilson got called for a techincal foul on a breakers inbound. CJ Bruton sinks the 2 free throws but the Breakers miss on the possesion. Up by one point Cairns use the whole shot clock and McCamey takes a step back 2 but missed, Mitch young brings down rebound for Cairns but missed. With 5 seconds left the Breakers bring down the rebound, get it to Johnson who ran the flloor getting it to CJ for an open 3 but missed giving Cairns the win 85-86.
It was an exciting game and showed some big things for both teams. I'm expecting to see both of them in the top four at the end of the season.

Adelaide Defeats Woollongong in thier first game at Home

The Adelaide 36ers defeated the Wollongong Hawks on Saturday night of round 2 97-91. Adelaides imports played a great game with gary Ervin finishing with 24 points and 5 assists and Jarryd Frye with 15 points and 7 rebounds for this first game with the 36ers. The First quarter was a shoot out with both teams hitting some big shots. Gary Ervin went 4 from 4 from long range for the 36ers and Larry Davidson went 3 from 3 for the Hawks and they had a decent lead of 6, 11-17 half way through the first. Wollongong Hawks new import Kevin Tiggs looks to be great fit into the team and made it look easy at times finishing with 14 points. The hawks held onto a great offensive quarter and held onto a the 6 point lead at the end of the first quarter 25-31.

The adelaide 36ers played some great defence to slow down the Hawks and Jarryd Frye showed how deadly he was in open court as he went coast to coast. Gary Ervin this season has really controlled the tempo of the first two games with some excellent team leadership and great shooting. At the end of the First half the Hawks managed to hold onto the lead 53-49. At the end of the first Ervin was on 15 points and Tiggs at 12. The 3rd quarter grinded out with the strong offensive effort we saw in the first slowing down for a more structured play. With the lead shanging sides several times in the 3rd Gary Erving looks like he enjoys playing under Joey as he gives him 5 after taking directions in a break in the game followed by a perfectly run play to get an open Adam Gibson for a 3. At the end of the quarter Jason Cadee got a fast break and takes to the hole but gets fouled hard by Tyson Demos and it gets called an unsportsmanlike foul. This is the tipping point in the game as a 3 points game 69-72 breaks out to 8 points in the final 30 seconds of the quarter ending with Adelaide up 77-69
In the final quarter the failing part of Wollongong became apparent with a lack of depth the players were getting tired. But this is Adelaide's strength as Jason Cadee is too quick with another fast break and lay up. Mitch Creek also tries to step up but Wollongong were happy to let him shoot. And the lead gets out to 10 points 83-73 with 6 minutes left to play. Adelaide worked hard on defence and played some good denial D but with so many 3 point shooters on the Hawks the find Davidson who drains a 3 and the hawks have worked their way back Hawks 80-83. But Fye got pumped off a loose ball drive over Davidson with the fould and the refs call it unsportsmanlike which was only a hard foul. And again the refs have decided the game with the lead getting out to Hawks 85-90 with only just over a minute to play. The Hawks however kept fighting hard and got back to within 3 points however they kept needing to fould and they couldnt shorten the gap with gary Ervin shooting from the free throw line 3 times to close out the game 97-91. It was a good showing from the hawks who will be very happy with their new import Kevin Tiggs who gives them more options on offence. Also the 36ers showed that through use of their depth of bench which is one of the few teams that go 10 deep they will take every game to the last second and try to push out for the win. This game was closer then i was expecting and im glad to see the NBL with a greater parity in teams, lets hope it continues through the season.
Adelaide 36ers 97 (Ervin 24, Frye 15, Creek 14)
Wollongong Hawks 91 (Davidson 16, Tiggs 14, Coenraad 13, Demos 13)

Townsville Crocodiles shock New Zealand Breakers in Townsville

The Townsville Crocodiles played some excellent un-selfish basketball to record an upset victory of the reigning champions the New Zealand Breakers at Townsville on Friday. The final score was Townsville up 94-84. The Breakers were missing CJ Bruton and I think they really missed his cool head in the final quarter, where Townsville started with a 6 point lead and never looked back from there.
Steven Markovic lead the Townsville Breakers very well and with 8 years experience in Europe he showed his experience tonight leading the Crocodiles to their first win of the season.

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Perth Wildcats wear down the Kings to take their second win

The Perth Wildcats defeated the Sydney Kings 81-65 in a game that was a lot closer then the final score made it look. The Perth Wildcats finally managed to break out from the Kings in the last 7 minutes of the game when Charles Carmouche got his 5th foul and had to sit out. From their it was all the Wildcats. This game had some spectacular highlights with 3 huge dunks from James Ennis. I don't think the NBL has seen a player like him since Leonard Copeland, I'm doubtful the Heat wont call him back sooner rather then later. Looks like he has great potential.

The Kings have become a very well structured team and to head coach Shane Heals credit i think  they may be a sleeper this season and will quietly notch up wins. No one seems to give the Kings much respect but I think Shane has put together a very strong team, eliminating some deficiencies they had last season with some excellent recruiting.
Sydney came out with a good start and Perth were looking a little sluggish with Ennis carrying them on offense getting the first 11 of Perths 13 points. Carmouch for the Kings penetrated with ease and looks to be very quick. Perth managed to hold onto the Kings not letting them break away and finished the first quarter at 20 all.
The fans were a bit quiet in the second quarter and  the music was pumped up. I don't like the music too loud i think its a club killer. Gold Coast did it and i believe it brought down attendances then Townsville was the same last season. I hope Perth is carefull with it.
Jesse Sanders played very well and was constantly compared to Damian Martin by the commentators but that does look like his style of game. He works hard, plays good D and gets assists. He will complement the Kings shooters (James Harvey, Ben Madgen and Brad Hill well). The Kings continued their good performance in the second with James Ennis being brought back on with the Kings up 35-39 to drop a 3 making it 38-41 at the end of the first half.
Sanders continues his good form in the second half driving into Shawn Redhage as he flops to the ground and got a warning for flopping. Both teams are played excellent defence and wasnt letting either team get a decent lead. Carmouch got his 4th foul with 5 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter and had to take a seat. James Ennis got a steal and leads a fast break into an assist as the wildcats take the biggest lead yet of 5 points. Almost straight after Ennis got a fast break and flies with his amazing athleticism making a Huge Dunk. The Kings unrattled maintained their composure with Brad Hill making some great plays keeping the Kings alive. The 3rd quarter comes to close at 54-54.
Opening the final term the crowd erupts in the Perth Arena and Jermaine Beal lands his first 3 pointer in the game. At a tied game 60-60 Carmouch unluckily got his 5th foul with 7 minutes left.
Brad Hill picked up his game this season and showed Shawn Redhage how its done as he makes a mid range jumper trying to bring the Kings back.
Perth started to break away from Sydney when James Ennis makes a massive dunk off a steal and fast break taking the lead back out to 5, 67-62. Straight away Ennis got another fast break and dropped a finger roll layup through the net as he decided to take it up a notch. A big dunk like we saw twice can be a game changer and motivates the team to pick up it also shakes up the opposition as the Kings started to look rattled. The kings couldnt get a call as Perth started to extend their lead and as AJ ogilvy is left rolling on the ground off a no call, Shawn Redhage drops a long bomb taking the game out to 10 points with 2 minutes left. The wildcats must have decided it was show time as Beal makes a steal and gives it up to Ennis who crashes another huge dunk with 3 point play then takes a seat.
The final score leapt out to perth 81 Sydney 65.
In a tight game James Ennis made a highlight real the likes the NBL hasn't seen since the 90's. He finished with 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Sydney's shooting really let them down this week shooting 5% from long range and 27% from the free throw line. Hopefully Madgen when fully healthy can get back to his form from last year later in the season and the
Kings can show what potential they have, but for now the Wildcats are on a 2-0 winning streak at home and we'll see if they can continue the run as they take on the Melbourne Tigers on Sunday in Melbourne.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

NBL Round 2 Weekend Preview

This weekend we see Round 21 of the NBL season with 2 teams playing 2 games across the weekend
for 5 games to watch for the fans on

Friday night we have 2 games to watch with the first being the New Zeland Breakers playing the Townsville Crocodiles. This should be a relatively easy win for the Breakers who were looking their the goods against Wollongong last week and i dont think the Crocodiles will have enought to take down the defending champs this early in the season. The Breakers are a team that has on majority not changed much over the last 3 years and their expereince playing with each other should be enough to get them win.
The Second game for Friday is the Perth Wildcats playing the Sydney Kings in Perth. This should be pretty close match up. With the Kings winning their game last round against the Melbourne Tigers i think they will have some confidence going into the Perth Arena but in the end i dont think they will have enough to get the win. It should be close game and AJ Ogilvy should run rampert in the post but unless James Harvey and Ben Madgen are both nailing their shots James Ennis and the Wildcats should have enough to get the win at home. Should be the pick of games to watch on Friday with it being played on ONE HD at 9.30pm.
Saturday night again has two games being played with the first being the Adelaide 36ers vs Wollongong Hawks in Adelaide for thier fisrst home game of the season. The 36ers being down two
starter last round showed off their depth of bench and the level they will playing in the close defeat Perth. It will be great to see a full strength 36ers play against a hopefully full strength Hawks. The Hawks have added their second import who might play if his immigration and FIBA paper work goes through in time. The Hawks have the potential to be a very strong team but this early in the season with a new import to adjust to, i dont think they will be able to keep up with the new run and gun Adelaide 36ers. Adelaide should easily get the win this time.
The second game on Friday is the Cairns taipans playing against the New Zealand Breakers in Cairns.
This should be a great game with the Taipans showing how strong an offensive threat they have become this season with 100+ point 40 minute game in their win against Townsville. If Jamar Wilson can perform how he did last week Cairns should get the win. The breakers will be tired after their game the night before against Townsville and if Cairns are hitting thier shots they should get the win but it will likely be a tight game. I doubt the Breakers will let them get their own way like they did against the Crocodiles.
The Final game of the weekend is on sunday with the Perth Wildcats taking on the Melbourne Tigers in Melbourne. The Tigers may play Chris Goulding for limited minutes floowing a fitness test which may give them a bit more on offense but unless they can contain James Ennis Perth might get their second win for the weekend. For Melbourne to get a win in this game Mark Worthington must stay out of foul trouble and make his mark on the game like he did last week against Sydney. I think this should be a close game and is probably the most difficult to call. Id like Melbourne to get a win but i think Perth may still be too much for them untill they have a full strength Chris Goulding. As it stands they dont have enough of an offensive presence to keep up with Perth but given this is the Wildcats second game of the weekend it may be a close one.

Wollongong recruit new import Kevin Tiggs

The Wollongong Hawks have recruited the versatile swingman Kevin Tiggs as their second import for the 2013/14 NBL season. Tiggs is making his way to Australia having played professionally in France, Cypress and the Ukranian leagues after graduating from the East Tennessee State university in 2009. Most recently playing in the Ukranian league Tiggs put up some decent numbers averaging 10.1 points on 54% shooting, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game for the season. One of the most impressive additions to Tiggs resume is during his college career he averaged 21.5 points per game off 53% shooting and was ranked 16th in scoring in the NCAA division 1, with players like Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry in the top 15 of that year. The Hawks are awaiting for the approvals from FIBA and immigration and are hoping that Tiggs will play in the teams 1000th game in the NBL this weekend against Adelaide.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Weekend Recap

Over the first round of the NBL we got an insight into what we can expect from the teams this season.
New zeland Breakers defeated Wollongong Hawks
Perth Wildcats defeated Adelaide 36ers
Cairns Taipans trounced Townsville Crocodiles
Sydney Kings defeated Melbourne Tigers

Even though it was only the first round it was great to see where each team is looking to sit on the ladder this year with the league having more parity then last year. For me it looks like Perth, New Zealand and Adelaide should be in the top four for most of the season. It will be a tough fight for the fourth spot with Cairns and Melbourne looking like they could get very strong.
Cairns look to be a well built team with some great guards surrounded by excellent shooters. Jamar Wilson excploded to 27 points coming off the bench for Cairns and if he continues to come off the bench is a guaranteed best 6th man. After their first games performance possible MVP candidate. However this was against the weakest team in the league in the NBL and round 1 really showed many of their flaws. Having clawed their way back into the NBL this season if Townsville notch up some wins it will be by shear hard work. But thats what Townsville is know for and i think they can fight their way to a few wins, but will mostly likely remain as the cellar dwellars on the ladder.
Perth look very good and their star import James Ennis will explode as a star in the league, if he remains all year a MVP favourite but he will likely return to the NBA should the Miami Heat get any injuries. Adelaide showed off the depth of their bench being able to contend with a nearly full strength Perth team (missing Matt Knight) missing two starting players in Adam Gibson and Jarryd Frye.
New Zealand showed their everpresent strength in the win over the Hawks and the depth of their bench will also be a big factor to their progress through the season. This however wil be where Wollongong falters their bench is not as deep as other teams in the league and they will heavily rely on the starting 5 players. However when Rhys Martin gets healthy and if he can play like he was last year and with the precise shooting of Rotnei Clark they can still be threat to any team they play.
Sydney defeated Melbourne but it was a close game and emphasised the strength Melbourne would have been had they still had Stephen Dennis and a healthy Chris Goulding. Mark Worthington showed off why he was a boomer in the last two olympics and looked like he could do what he wanted on the offensive end and made some important stops and blocks on the defensive end. James Harvey had a great game for the Kings and brought home the victory with some hot shooting finishing with 19 points. It will be great to finally see a healthy James harvey this season, lets hope he can stay that way.

From what we have seen in Round 1 it should be an great season with some very exciting imports and with the altered style in reffing we may finally get to see them show off their skills without being hampered down with a rubgy style basketball the NBL has been renowned for.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Perth Wildcats lead by James Ennis defeat the Adelaide 36ers in a close Ggame

The first game of the season to be aired on free to air tv was a great one. The perth Wildcats managed to win their first game of the season with a game winning shot by Shawn Redhage in the last 20 seconds.

We saw two teams with injured players battle it out on friday night, both of them not letting their opponent get away just when you thought one would take control of the game.
Adelaide started out playing some very nice basketball lead by the 2010/11 MVP Gary Ervin and through the game we saw why he was the MVP two years ago. The first quarter was controlled by the 36ers and they ran the ball. Everything was a fast break opportunity and with Luke  Schencher and Daniel Johnson (28 points) running the lanes they made some quick baskets. Daniel Johnson had a monster game and id love to see that performance carry through the season. This was what kept the 36ers in the game their advantage in height in the inside was evident with the Wildcats missing their centre Matt Knight. But this is the coaching style we have seen from Joey Wright he has great confidence in his players and puts together a team with such depth that they can run from start to finish and know the bench will come out blazing. Midway through the first is was 9-17 with Adelaide dominating through Ervins excellent plays and team leadership. But as in the New Zealand vs Wollongong game where Wollongong came out blazing we saw the Wildcats start to bring the
36ers back after a huge dunk by James Ennis who decided to stamp his name onto the game. With two seconds left in the first Ennis made a shot off a huge pass on the buzzer taking it 19-22 in Adelaides favour.

Coming out from the first break Gary Ervin was pumped to hold the lead and starting making some shots and big plays. After this game i'm starting to think that the 36ers acquisition of Ervin with Gibson to help run the team would be the pick up of the season. He drained a 3 then a 2 then another 2. It made development player Drake U'U's 7 point run look dismal, stating this is how we play in the big league. But the Wildcats managed to hold on and a lot was from the athletic plays of James Ennis who given a step had some huge leaps going to the basket and could nail an open 3 with ease, he finished with 25 points and was difference in the game. Perths other import Jermaine Beal had a hard time shooting early in the game missing some open 3 pointers but he was smooth as silk driving to the basket.  Beal cleaned his shot up in second helf and finished with 11 points. James Ennis got his 3rd foul as the second quarter started to wind down and it was a big loss to the Wildcats. The first half closed with Perth taking the lead 43-41. Ennis had 14 at the half and Ervin 14p and 3 assists.

Opening the second half Ennis started heating up hitting his 3rd three pointer and the wildcats started to stretch the lead 54-49. His highlight real looks to have just started as he made an alley oop off a poor pass in a fast break. Straight after getting a huge block on Gary Ervin. But as we see Ennis take a rest the Wildcats lead starts to slow down as their offensive presence is lessened with his exit from the court. As the third quarter comes to a close we see Brendan Teys make a great defensive stop as Damian Martin makes a drive to the hole. Teys is one of the players that got to see more minutes with the injured team mates. Joey must see something in Teys as he was also with the Gold Coast Blaze in
the 2011-12 season. With plays like this i think i remembered what is missing in the 36ers with Adam Gibson, and Jarrid Frye injured but at the same extent we see Johnson dominating on offense and realize Perth are playing short a player as well. I think both teams can get even better as the season progresses and the third quarter score is Perth still up 63-58.

With Ervin taking a break we see Jason Cadee who has a lot of Potential to be a great point guard leading the team and scores tie up 74-74 in the final quarter as Luke Schencher keeps Adelaide right next to Perth with some inside shots from the big guy. But Ennis is back on and makes a huge 4 point play as he drains a three and was fouled by Cadee. So Joey brings back Anthony Petrie, Daniel Johnson and Gary Ervin on to the court. The score was 81-80 as the crowd stands for the last minute of the game. Gary Ervin brings the ball up and tries to take the burden on himself as he loses the ball then misses a 3 pointer in heavy traffic. With 30 seconds left Brendan Teys is marking James Ennis and as Ennis makes a drive to the hole Teys stops him with some good defense only for it to be passed out to Shawn Redhage as he makes an easy jump shot. On the other end Anthony Petrie goes for a shot from outside to tie it up in the dyeing seconds but misses as Perth pull down the rebound and the Wildcats take their first win of the season. 83-80.

I think a lot of people were expecting the Wildcats to run all over Adelaide being down two starting players, but this game has sent a message to the league, both that Adelaide is a team that is nearly 10 deep and that Perth's James Ennis is the real deal and he is going to be huge in this league and maybe a chance in the NBA. I think this season is really going to be a good with all teams looking like their might be a little more parity with all teams finding gun imports.

Perth wildcats 83
       James Ennis 25, Jesse Wagstaff, Shawn Redhage 1, Jermaine Beal 11
Adelaide 36ers 80
       Daniel Johnson 28, Gary Ervin 14, Luke Schencher 13

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Round 1 Preview: Perth Wildcats vs Adelaide 36ers

This game is one I have been looking forward to. The Adelaide 36ers have done well when playing in Perth since last season and the Perth team looks to be very strong even after having lost several players in the off season. Getting to see James Ennis play in a legitamite league game would be worth the entry alone. However this game may be more of a one sided battle then I had hoped with the 36ers down two starting players in Adam Gibson and Jarrid Frye. Adam Gibson is the 36ers on court team leader and is their best defensive player his loss will be key in this game. Also Frye looks to be an excellent pick up for the 36ers with a strong offensive skill set. It will make the game a lot tougher for the rest of the team with these two on the sidelines, hoever when you have as deep a bench as the 36ers have they still might give Perth a run for their money. Gary Ervin said he is out to prove something in this game and Jason Cadee should see this as an opportunity to show he is ready to lead a team as a starting point guard. Mitch Creek can also see this as an opportunity for more minutes and a chance to show off his skill set as well. So as much as it looks like Perth should be able to run away with a win I dont think the 36ers will let them. Perth are the powerhouse team they have always been and with the loss of Kevin Lisch in the offseason the pick up of James Ennis is a massive coupe for the Wildcats. A key factor ging into Round 1 for the Wildcats is the loss of Matt Knight who is still out with injury. The wildcats may be weak on the inside and with the height of Luke Schencher and Daniel Johnson to contend with this could become a spot that the 36ers can utilise. This game although tipped in Perths favour may be a close game but Perth should be able to take the win so long as they can contain Ervin. Im sure Damian Martin will be guarding Ervin which may open up Cadee to lead the team from the point utilising the bigs inside for their offensive presence. Im looking forward to see how Joey wright utilises the 36ers for this game against last years championship runner up team. Adelaide may have the deepest bench in the league and that may be their saving grace in round 1, but we have seen how a deep bech doesnt always bring the wins from the Gold Coast Blaze a few years ago who were knocked out in the semu finals and had a surprisingly similar line up to the Adelaide 36ers of this year.

The breakers send a message to the league in a crushing victory over Wollongong

The New Zealand Breakers were too much for the Wollongong Hawks in the first round of the NBL season. The breakers handedly won by a 19 pioint margin 92-73, despite the hot streak Wollongong had in the first quarter with a 28 point first 10 minutes the Breakers held them to only 45 for the rest of the game. The long range shooting of Darryl Corletto 4/5 from long range and the consistent plays from Tom Abercrombie they continually dismantaled the hawks finishing with 19 points each for the game. Rotnei Clark was the highest point scorer for the game finishing with 20 points however the majority of this came in the first quarter where he penetrated into the keyway with ease. The breakers increased their defence without losing any offensive stregnth after the first quarter and managed to take the lead with a 10 point swing thanks to the hot shooting from Corey Webster and Tom Abercrombie hitting consecutive three pointers. The depth in the bench really showed the difference in these two teams. The Breakers can run full throttle on defence and offence for the whole game due to their talented players and hot shooting from the whole team. This will be the Hawks main deficiency this season as they dont have the talent coming off the bech that some other teams have. The Hawks starting line up is rather impressive when it all works but they dont have enough to fall back on when its not. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks they can find a gun import who can give them some more options as i dont think Clark can carry them for the whole season. Having said that if they find a player that can work well in Geordie McLeod's system i know they can become deadly under one of the best coaches in the league. The Breakers are looking like the championship defenders that we had seen last season and the loss of Cedric Jackson looks to be filled nicely by Kerron Johnson. This blow out victory is a statement to the rest of the league and each team will be ready for a tough battle every time they play the Breakers who are hopeing for the first ever 4 peat in the NBL.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Round 1 Preview: New Zealeand vs Wollongong

Thursday night sees the official NBL season kicking off with the first game being in NZ against the Woollongong Hawks. The Breakers will be unveiling thier 2012/13 championship flag at this event and is likely to sell out. This time last year we saw all this occur but the Perth Wildcats spanked them in front of a sell out home court in New Zealand, it will be interesting to see if history will repeat for the Hawks. The breakers are championship defenders and having lost their star point guard in Cedric Jackson its starting to look like they have picked up another one in Kerron Johnson. The breakers however also lost their coach Andrej Lemanis in the offseason who has gone on to coach the Australian National team. In my opinion this is a huge loss to the team. Lemanis took the Breakers to three championships and since has lead Australia to a silver medal at the World University games. The loss of Lemanis cant be understated, however the breakers team has been together for several years with some excellent leadership among its team with players like CJ Bruton, Mike Vukona and Darryl Corletto and this may decrease the effects of losing an outstanding coach in Lemanis. The Hawks coached under Goerdie Mcleod are always a threatening team with their strong team work and well set plays they can definitly be a championship contender this season. Going into this game however my money will be on the Breakers to take the first win in a closer game then people will think. The Hawks probably would have been my favourites to get a W in round 1 had Durrell Summers stayed with the team, however with him out and Rhys Martin still recovering from injury I dont see them being deep enough in the fourth quarter to get the win. The Hawks have a tight structural offense but they are lacking in height, and depth in the bench. I see rebounds being their main concern as well as lacking in depth on the bench it will be the fatigue that takes the win for the Breakers. Having said that we have seen what an excellent player Rotnei Clark is in the preseason and if he has a blinder of a game they make just sneak out a win but i dont see it happening.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Melbourne Tigers sign Ayinde Ubaka to replace injured guard Stephen Dennis

The Melbourne Tigers have announced their signing of import point guard Ayinde Ubaka back to the Team to replace injured point guard Stephen Dennis. Ayinde "chewy" Ubaka played for the Melbourne Tigers in the 2011-12 season untill he was fired in the locker room after a loss by a former owner of the Tigers Seamus McPeake. Ubaka was brought to the league by the Gold Coast Blaze in 2009-10 and then went on to take the Cairns Wildcats to their first ever Grand Finals appearance in the 2010-11 season. Ubaka averaged 14.1 points and 3.7 assists in his career in the NBL so is a known entity in the league and should be a smooth fit into the Tigers team. Im looking forward to seeing Ubaka back in the NBL and if he is able to keep up with the strong import recruits we have seen this year.

Woollongong Hawks release import Durrell Summers

The Woollongong hawks have released their import Durrell Summers from his contract with the team. Summers had been working through matters with his agent as well as the contract with the Hawks when he arrieved last month. He admitted that their had been a significant miscommunication between him and his agent in regards to his contract. Summers has since fired his Agent and has decided to return home to Review his situation. It would have been good to see Summers play in the NBL as he put up some decent avaerages across his college career but has opted not to play in the NBL and to seek more money elswhere. Rumours have it that he is headed to Europe.