Round fifteen has come and gone and we are still not too sure who will be in the finals series. It seems that barring a crazy implosion; Adelaide will be in the finals. Other than that, it’s up in the air. Illawarra is second on the ladder but only three wins ahead of last placed Brisbane.
As for the round, Adelaide continued its massive push at the top of the table while Illawarra is just doing what it does best: stay under the radar and continue to win games. Brisbane, on the other hand, has tumbled to the cellar after being fourth only a month ago. It doesn’t help that half their team is on the injured list.
Question of the Week
With guys like Kevin Dillard, Paul Carter, Josh Boone and Bryce Cotton helping their respective teams immensely, why did Sydney get Garrett Jackson?
Points per game: 92.8 (1); points against per game: 90.6 (8); net: +2.2 (1)
Granted the United team was woefully understaffed, and Melbourne put up a decent fight, but Adelaide now knows how to beat teams comfortably. This 100-73 smashing made up for the Sixers 104-73 loss to Melbourne on New Year’s Day. How good was Adelaide’s defense? The second lowest total that they have given up and outscored United 59-31 in the second half. Nathan Sobey was spectacular and is definitely in the mix for his first All-NBL nomination.
Points per game: 89.0 (2); points against per game: 88.3 (7); net: +0.7 (3)
This team just keeps on winning. Second on the ladder, one of only two teams above .500 and are doing it with an underdone Marvelle Harris and an AJ Ogilvy that is a shell of his last season’s self. Fortunately, they have uncovered a stud, and I’ll stop talking about Nick Kay when he stops delivering. 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals is a man-sized game for a guy who could sneak into the Boomers squad in four years. Big call? Maybe, but he’s got all the opportunity to make it a reality.
Points per game: 85.4 (3); points against per game: 83.8 (5); net: +1.6 (2)
Losing big to Adelaide with Kyle Adnam and Owen Odigie starting the game is nothing to lose sleep over but it must have been nice to get a win so soon after a big loss. Casper Ware and Chris Goulding are the best starting backcourt in the league and to put up 58 points between them against Cairns is mouth-watering for United fans. The team needs to pass the ball more, with only eight assists in the Cairns game was the lowest of the round, and the team is second last in assists per game on the season.
Points per game: 80.5 (7); points against per game: 81.3 (1); net: -0.8 (5)
Two losses in a round usually equate to a drop in the power rankings standings, but a loss to Adelaide as well as a loss to Cairns without Casey Prather can probably be excused after their recent play. Going down to Adelaide in Perth is disappointing because it would have been a massive statement game that the Cats are back in business. There was always going to be speedbumps on the way to the postseason with Bryce Cotton and shooting 36% from the field over the two games can definitely be called a speedbump. Once Prather is back, and Damian Martin becomes fully comfortable again with this team, it’ll be a tough matchup for anyone.
Points per game: 83.0 (5); points against per game: 82.6 (3); net: +0.4 (4)
This team couldn’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag at the moment. Giving up a 32-13 last quarter to New Zealand to lose by eighteen is inexcusable, and something needs to be changed if this team wants to be a contender. It all comes down to their captain Kevin Lisch. With Brad Newley out with an injured hamstring, Lisch has been woeful. In the last seven games where the Kings have won only one game, Lisch is shooting 30.5% from the field for only 14 points a game. In the last six games, he’s at 26%. He needs to get it together, quickly.
Points per game: 84.5 (4); points against per game: 85.4 (6); net: -0.9 (6)
The New Zealand commentators had the perfect nickname for the Breakers’ imports: Run DMC. Kevin Dillard, Akil Mitchell, and Paul Carter combined for 54 points, 19 rebounds, eight assists and seven steals against Sydney and more importantly, brought an excitement and swagger to a team that was a little lost in the middle of the season.
Need more evidence that Kevin Dillard is legit, exhibit A:
7. Brisbane Bullets (-2)
Points per game: 82.3 (6); points against per game: 83.8 (4); net: -1.5 (7)
This team has been ravaged by injury and the most recent Bullet to go down is Adam Gibson who is expected to join Cam Bairstow and Anthony Petrie on the sidelines with a calf injury. There is some good news, as Daniel Kickert had a perfect game, going 9/9 from the field, 4/4 from three, 2/2 from the stripe and not turning the ball over once (he did only capture one rebound). It’s extremely rare for a player to have a perfect shooting game and the last time someone had not missed a shot was Kickert himself on 30/12/2015 against Sydney, going 10/10 for 26 points. He did turn the ball over twice in that game, though.
Points per game: 80.3 (8); points against per game: 81.8 (2); net: -1.5 (8)
It’s hard to keep up with Melbourne when their two stars are on fire, so a loss to Melbourne, in Melbourne is not that big of a deal. Beat Perth is also a plus, but it seems that this team is just hanging on at the moment because the Taipans should have beaten a Wildcats team that was missing Casey Prather by more than two points. Cairns’ scoring is still an issue, putting up the least amount of points in the league and have only one player in the top twenty in points per game (Travis Trice at 14.9ppg). With the top two scoring teams in the league holding the top two positions on the ladder, it may be time for the Taipans to shake it up a little.