Hands up all of you who thought Melbourne United would be on the bottom of the ladder after nine games? Not many. After five rounds the Victorian side has only three wins from nine games. Compare that to last season when they were still undefeated. They’re not only losing; the players’ attitude is rubbish, and the team is very quickly imploding. Panic stations? Quite possibly.
Question of the week
When was the last time Adelaide had such a lovable, talented player like Jerome Randle?
Record – 6-2
Points per game: 82.3 (4); points against per game: 76.1 (1); net: +6.2 (1)
It seems they’re human after all. After walking all over the rest of the league, the Kings go down in a battle of attrition against Cairns. And boy was that game hard to watch. Both teams shot 33% from the field, and it was just a pain of a match. The Kings’ rematch against the Snakes was a much more exciting game with an amazing game winning shot by Kevin Lisch.
Were the Kings having a bad weekend or were Cairns on top of their game? Or are the Taipans a bogey team that Sydney should be worried about? What is known is that Sydney should change their name to the Thieves, as Lisch (2.29), Greg Whittington (2.25) and Aleks Maric (1.88) are first, second and third in the entire league for steals. That doesn’t happen every day.
Record – 5-2
Points per game: 79.7 (6); points allowed per game: 77.9 (2); net: +1.8 (3)
Jaron Johnson gets “deactivated” from the Wildcats because they need more outside shooting. He comes back after two games and drops six treys against Adelaide for 20 points. It should be safe to say he’ll be a Wildcat for a while if he keeps up that production.
Casey Prather and Jerome Randle had one of the best battles of the season so far and even though Randle has the spotlight with his 40 points, Prather’s 28 points, eight assists and the win might be even better.
Record – 4-3
Points per game: 87.4 (2); points allowed per game: 83.0 (6); net: +4.4 (2)
How good were New Zealand’s big men in the overtime win against Melbourne? Alex Pledger had one of his best games with 20 points and ten rebounds on a monster 9/10 shooting. And Rob Loe? Only 13 points in 14 minutes and two three-point daggers to sink the United train.
On the other hand, Corey Webster has been putrid and in the last round shot 3/21 in two games. Ouch. The gap between third and sixth on the ladder is only one game, so the Breakers get third place here because the team is only one of three over. 500.
Record – 3-4
Points per game: 78.3 (7); points allowed per game: 81.0 (4); net: -2.7 (7)
Sometimes teams just have bad games, and it was Brisbane’s turn. Superstar Cam Bairstow won’t have a game like that anytime soon, laying a goose egg (zero points) on nine shots in 17 minutes. Expect him to have a big game next week against the stumbling Kings and roaring Taipans.
You know it’s a rough night when even consistent Dan Kickert shoots badly (2/8 FG).
Record – 3-4
Points per game: 91.0 (1); points allowed per game: 97.7 (8); net: -6.7 (8)
If people weren’t on the Adelaide bandwagon before, they would be now. Seeing this plucky team without Daniel Johnson and Mitch Creek take it up to the defending champions was inspiring. Jerome Randle must have more groupies than hot dinners but seeing the other guys stepping up was very promising. Eric Jacobsen had 14 and 9 and Anthony Drmic put up 17 points in 20 minutes.
They’re giving up too many buckets, allowing the most points per game in the league, but it’s an exciting time for a team that was written off before the season (myself included).
Record – 3-4
Points per game: 77.3 (8); points allowed per game: 79.0 (3); net: -1.7 (6)
Is this the round where Cairns presents itself to the league? They beat the super hot Kings in the grittiest game that has been played in a while and if it weren’t for the ice-cold Kevin Lisch they would have done it again. Nate Jawai is slowly showing what many people thought he was capable of and we’re able to stay as close as two points while shooting 36% against Sydney.
It’s crazy to think that if the season finished today, the Taipans would be in the playoffs after starting as slow as molasses.
Record – 3-5
Points per game: 85.1 (3); points allowed per game: 86.0 (7); net: -0.9 (4)
An 82-73 win against Melbourne would have been more impressive at the start of the season, but it’s good to see the Hawks rely on more than AJ Ogilvy and Harris who only had seven and nine points respectively.
People should still be on Holyfield Watch as the import most in the hot seat laid a goose egg in twelve minutes. Who goes first, Holyfield or a United import?
Record – 3-6
Points per game: 81.1 (5); points allowed per game: 82.0 (5); net: -0.9 (5)
What to say about Melbourne? Not only have they lost their last four games but their attitude is much more concerning. The exchange between David Andersen and Ramone Moore in the New Zealand game when they both called, “yours!” on a rebound and neither got it showcases that the team is not in sync. Cedric Jackson’s attitude is particularly rubbish, and there are some rumours that he is on the outer.
The crazy thing is that the team is only two games back from the fourth spot but the way the team is acting it feels like they have already checked out of the season.