The first two matches of the NBL’s round six have been completed with Adelaide leading off courtesy of a win on the road. All the details from Thursday night’s action.
36ers add to Illawarra’s pain without Randall
– Jason Phelan
Adelaide’s season is back on track after Daniel Johnson and Robert Franks stepped up in the absence of star import Craig Randall II to fire the 36ers to a commanding 16-point win against Illawarra Hawks at the WIN Entertainment Centre.
CJ Bruton’s side went into the clash having suffered back-to-back defeats, but found its offensive rhythm to score a convincing 96-80 win on Thursday night that evens its win-loss record at 3-3.
Despite the efforts of Tyler Harvey, who had a team-high 25 points, the Hawks trailed at every break but launched a late rally that slashed the margin to just five points with a little over six minutes left.
But the Sixers responded in fine style on the road to consign the last-placed Hawks to a seventh loss in a row.
With Randall missing with a chest injury, Johnson and Franks fired in season-high scores of 28 and 25 points respectively.
Both had their eye in early and continued to shoot at an impressive clip throughout; Johnson going 11-from-14, including 4-from-6 from three-point range from the floor, with Franks going at 11-from-15.
Franks did a lot of the heavy lifting on offence early, while Johnson was pivotal when the Hawks surged in the last quarter.
With his side’s lead slashed to just five points, Johnson helped put the game beyond reach.
The star veteran drained 13 points in the final term, including seven in a pivotal 13-2 run, to see off the Hawks.
The Hawks trailed by as much as 15 points in the second quarter, were down by 12 points at the half, and they were fortunate not to be further adrift given some low numbers.
Sam Froling was coming off a 27-point game against United, but had zero points from just three attempts in the first half.
Import George King, who found himself in early foul trouble and played limited minutes, also didn’t manage a basket from two shots.
Perhaps the most concerning number for coach Jacob Jackomas was his side’s dire 3-from-15 three-point shooting.
Peyton Siva was the main offender shooting zero from four, outside the arc, while Harvey went 1-from-4.
The 36ers had some low numbers of their own, Antonius Cleveland with just one free throw for the half and Kai Sotto not putting up a shot, but fared better from long range at 5-from-15.
Siva, who was with the NZ Breakers last season, was playing his third game since signing on to replace import Justin Robinson, who has a long-term knee injury.
The American drained his first triple after the restart and had nine assists to three-quarter time as the Hawks went on a 12-2 rally in the third term.
Siva finished with 11 points and 10 assists and will only get better as he finds chemistry with his new teammates.
Wildcats suffer second defeat to Tasmania
– Brad Elborough
The Tasmania JackJumpers don’t dwell too long on poor performances.
On Thursday night, less than a week after suffering a disappointing loss in New Zealand, they travelled to the other side of the NBL universe and handed the Perth Wildcats an eight-point defeat at RAC Arena.
The JackJumpers trailed by two points at the final change and by as many as 11 points earlier in the game.
But they shot the lights out in the final term, winning 85-77.
Josh Magette dropped three shots from beyond the three-point line in that final term, to give him six from 10 attempts at that distance for the game, on the way to 18 points.
Jack McVeigh added 22 points, while Milton Doyle was outstanding with 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Tasmania shot at just 33 per cent against the Breakers on Sunday, easily their lowest conversion rate this season.
After winning four on the trot, they managed to get only 62 points on the board against the Breakers, losing by 32 points.
Against Perth, that conversion improved to a much more respectable 42.5 per cent.
LOSS HURTS THE CATS
The loss hurts the Perth Wildcats.
It extends their streak of losses to five games, with three of those now being on their home court.
There used to be three certainties in life, death, taxes and the Perth Wildcats making the NBL playoffs.
That was all challenged last season when the Cats 35-year streak of reaching the finals ended.
It’s only early in the season, but something needs to change if they want to avoid missing the playoffs, that are now extended to include six teams, for another year.
Last season, the Wildcats lost an incredible seven home games at Perth’s RAC Arena. It’s only early in this campaign and they have already been beaten on their home court three times.
SLOW AND STEADY
Perth has not been a great first-term team so far this season.
The Wildcats are averaging only 21.3 in first terms and the 19 points they scored in the opening quarter against Tasmania was their second worst from their first seven games.
But the three-point lead they held at the first break was the biggest they have managed so far in 2022-23.
They have now led at quarter time just twice this season.
The other time was against the JackJumpers in round four, when Perth scored 23 points at led by just one.
Tasmania won the next three terms, restricting Perth to just 32 second-half points.
On Thursday night, the JackJumpers won the second half 49-39. Bryce Cotton was restricted to 10 points after half-time, but still led all scorers with 26 for the game.
Originally published as NBL 2022/23 Round 6: Illawarra Hawks’ woes continue with Adelaide’s 36ers running away with victory without Craig Randall II