After what felt like an eternity, NBL basketball is back in business. As much as watching the Boomers dismantle Chinese Taipei and eventually get going against Japan, there is nothing in this country like the best basketball teams in the league at each other.
Question of the Week
Two games, two losses. Should the Breakers be worried or is it just a hiccup?
Next Round: Brisbane (home), Adelaide (away)
ORtg: 116.8 (2); DRtg: 112.5 (5); Net: +4.2 (2)
The first real slip up from the league leaders, losing two from two after winning nine straight. Going down to the back to back defending champions seems decent on the surface, but the Breakers lost in New Zealand by sixteen points. Not a glowing endorsement of the NZB title hopes. Losing to the Bullets was not a good look, however.
The foul count was the biggest problem, as New Zealand was on the wrong end of the whistle twelve more times, which resulted in a whopping 23 more free throws for Brisbane. The umpiring this season has been a contentious issue since the first round, and this game will not go down well.
— SKYCITY Breakers NZ (@NZBreakers) December 4, 2017
Next Round: Adelaide (home), Illawarra (away)
ORtg: 121.2 (1); DRtg: 108.4 (3); Net: +12.9 (1)
Who is the best small forward in the game? Casey Prather, Perrin Buford or JP Tokoto? If the last game was anything to go off, Tokoto would be a fantastic bet. 25 points, nine assists and five rebounds against the team on top of the ladder was a master class performance. It was made all the more impressive that Bryce Cotton had a stinker of a game with seven points on eight shots.
The team from the west has all the momentum and are looking the goods. Have they peaked too soon? Judging by past performances, very unlikely.
— Perth Wildcats (@PerthWildcats) November 12, 2017
Next Round: Perth (away), New Zealand (home)
ORtg: 112.3 (4); DRtg: 108.7 (4); Net: +3.6 (3)
Currently, with no bias or previous performances, can anyone say that Mitch Creek isn’t the best Australian in the league right now? He’s top ten in points and steals, top fifteen in rebounds and leading the league in field goal shooting with an eye-popping 70.5% success rate. He’s long, strong, a great defensive force and after his game-winning layup, clutch. All-NBL First Team worthy? Very possible.
— Adelaide 36ers (@Adelaide36ers) December 1, 2017
Next Round: Cairns (away), Sydney (home)
ORtg: 110.7 (5); DRtg: 108.1 (2); Net: +2.7 (4)
FINALLY! This is the Melbourne United people crowned as the champions before the season started. The eighteen point win over the Hawks was all well and good, but how they did it was important. All five starters had at least a dozen points, and even though Casper Ware and Chris Goulding shot poorly (again), they did what they could to get the win. It seems that Shea Ili is the favourite for Most Improved, but don’t sleep on Tai Wesley, who put up 13 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.
— NBL (@NBL) December 4, 2017
Next Round: Melbourne (home)
ORtg: 108.5 (8); DRtg: 107.5 (1); Net: +0.9 (5)
In two almost identical scoring games, the Taipans split the home and home against the lowly Kings. In fact, the end result of the two games was a tie at 152-all. Spooky. The Snakes still don’t have that dependable scoring option, but it was good to see Jeremy Evans Jr come off the bench for 15 points and six rebounds and +13, his first real impactful game of the season. Fingers crossed there are more from the young man in the near future.
— NBL (@NBL) December 2, 2017
Next Round: New Zealand (away), Sydney (away)
ORtg: 113.6 (3); DRtg: 120.7 (8); Net: -7.1 (7)
The Bullets seem to be on the up, albeit slowly. A one point, last-minute loss to the Sixers and then an impressive win against the league leaders is cause for excitement. This optimism stems from one person: Perrin Buford. There are some dynamite small forwards in the league at the moment and Buford is definitely there in the conversation. He’s seventh in points, second in rebounds, third in blocks, top fifteen in steals, shoots 57.1% from the field and is the only player in the league to average a steal and block per game. This guy is the real deal.
— NBL (@NBL) December 3, 2017
7.Illawarra Hawks (-2)
Next Round: Perth (home)
ORtg: 110.0 (6); DRtg: 114.1 (6); Net: -4.1 (6)
Without AJ Ogilvy and Demetrius Conger, this Hawks outfit was always going to be pushing uphill. And apart from Rotnei Clarke, it seemed like they had already figured out the outcome. After halftime, Chris Goulding put the breaks on the Clarke juggernaut (17 points at halftime) but he still finished with 24. Delvon Johnson is still the most unimpressive player in the league, as a big man centre who has four rebounds in 26 minutes should not be in the league.
Cody Ellis sighting! 14 points in only his fourth game, double his season average. And he dunked on someone!
— Illawarra Hawks (@illawarrahawks) December 4, 2017
Next Round: Brisbane (home), Melbourne (away)
ORtg: 109.3 (7); DRtg: 119.8 (7); Net: -10.5 (8)
Jeremy Tyler has finally shown the skills he has only hinted at in his past three games. Averages of 18 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the two games against the Taipans is all well and good, but he needs to do that every week. The Kings have two big games next round against the upstart Bullets and then rivals Melbourne will either put the final nails in the Sydney season coffin or continue to keep it on life support.
— Sydney Kings (@SydneyKings) November 30, 2017