Studs and Duds: Round 4

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Written for nbl.com.au by Liam Santamaria

 

Another enthralling round of NBL action has been run and won with Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth all saluting the judges.

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Sydney split their home-away double while the Hawks, Breakers, Taipans and 36ers will all be looking to get back into the winner’s circle this week.

 

STUDS

Brisbane Bullets

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The Bullets were firing throughout Round 4, securing back-to-back wins over last year’s Grand Finalists, the 36ers.

Brisbane piled on 108 points in front of their home fans, with Reuben Te Rangi putting up a career-high 29 and veterans Mika Vukona and Adam Gibson providing great production off the bench.

In the return bout it was Cam Gliddon’s turn to get hot, as the Boomers guard splashed 6 triples – including the game winner – on his way to a career-high 30.

The Bullets are now on their first winning-streak of the season and are sitting third with a 4-3 record. Next up: the biggest challenge in the NBL.

“We get to go to Perth next week and get after them on their home court,” head coach Andrej Lemanis said.

“I don’t think they’ve lost at home yet so it’s a good opportunity for us to show that we’ve gotten better from the last time we were there.”

 

Melbourne United

The other team to secure two wins during Round 4 was Melbourne, who never trailed at any stage against either the Taipans or the Kings.

Casper Ware was lights out in the tropics, nailing 8-of-12 threes, while at home it was DJ Kennedy and Mitch McCarron who led the way with a Best Supporting Actor award going to Craig Moller.

Kennedy put up 24 points and 10 boards, McCarron had 14 and 9 while Moller’s 8 and 6 were highly influential against his former team, with 4 of those boards coming at the offensive end.

 

Andrew Bogut (Sydney Kings)

Speaking about having an inlfuence, the Bogey Man was an absolute monster in Sydney’s win over Illawarra.

Bogut was in full demolition mode at the Kingdome; ripping it off the defensive glass, making plays off the dribble, throwing down “hellacious” dunks and just completely dominating the ball game.

“He totally intimidated us,” Hawks head coach Rob Beveridge said postgame.

“He obviously got some blocks but also taking it off the dribble, he went at our bigs… he just showed all class tonight.”

Bogut had a double-double at half-time, before finishing with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks on 9-of-12 shooting from the field.

The big fella was two points off another double-double on Sunday (8 & 15 with 3 blocks) and is everything we hoped he would be on the NBL hardwood.

 

Clint Steindl (Perth Wildcats)

Steindl drilled 5-of-5 triples in Perth’s win over the Breakers, in what was undoubtedly his best game as a Wildcat.

Coming off three straight games without a make from long range, Steindl approached Saturday’s game with a genuine shooter’s mentality. He moved well without the ball and strode into each of his shots with absolute confidence, finishing with 17 points.

The Wildcats outscored the Breakers by 29 during Steindl’s 20 minutes on the floor and his back-to-back bombs midway through the final quarter blew the game open.

“I’m happy for him,” Perth head coach Trevor Gleeson said postgame.

“He’s been working towards this. Perhaps a couple of games haven’t gone his way but he’s certainly been working really hard out there.”

That was a very studly performance off the bench.

 

Melo Trimble (Cairns Taipans)

Another week, another massive scoring game from the league’s leading bucket-getter.

Trimble posted 34 points and 8 assists in the Taipans’ loss to Melbourne, as he completely dissected United’s usually-solid pick-and-roll D.

If Melo picks things up down the other end and a few more friends go with him on offence, the Snakes will start turning things around.

 

DUDS

Illawarra Hawks

Illawarra’s slow starts are officially a problem.

The Hawks have lost their past five first quarters by an average of 9.8 points and they haven’t kept an opponent to below 27 in an opening term since their first game of the season.

“We have to address the start,” Beveridge said following Friday’s loss to Sydney.

“I don’t have the answer right now, we’re trying to work through it but I don’t have the answer.”

One option involves tinkering with the starting line-up – something ‘Bevo’ suggested may well be on the cards. And with import point guard Cedric Jackson now limited by a groin strain, there’s every chance we might see rookie playmaker Emmett Naar become a starter this week.

“Maybe that’s what we do. Maybe these young guys that are full of energy (should start) and they can get after it,” Beveridge added.

“If they make mistakes, they make mistakes but it couldn’t be worse than what we’re going through at the moment.”

 

Cairns Taipans

The Snakes suffered their fourth straight loss over the weekend after giving up another large total, this time to Melbourne United.

Over the course of their losing streak, the Taipans have given up an average of 97 points per game, which is, of course, waaaaaay too much.

“We’re not the Golden State Warriors so we need to be a better defensive team, consistently, and slow teams down for us to stay in games,” head coach Mike Kelly said postgame.

“I think we’re good offensively but we need to be good and consistent defensively.”

They also need to find a way to get import wing Devon Hall going, after the recent NBA Draft pick once again struggled to find his shooting rhythm in Round 4.

Hall shot 1-of-11 from the field against United, including 0-for-5 from long range.

On the season he’s now averaging 6.4 points per game on 21 percent shooting from the field and just 16 percent from three.

That from a guy who put up 45–43–89 shooting clips last season at Virginia.

I sound like a broken record but you’ve just got to think a breakout performance is right around the corner.

“He’s a basketball player, he’s going to have 1-for-10 nights,” Trimble said about Hall.

“He might come out next game and go 10-for-10, you never know. The biggest thing is for him to stay confident.

“The whole team just needs to stay on him about shooting the ball and being aggressive. It’ll come.”

At 1-4, the Taipans now face a tough road double in Round 5 that will see them head to New Zealand and Melbourne. It’s a tall task but they really need to grab at least one of those games.

 

Adelaide 36ers

The Sixers copped a bullet to the chest this week as Brisbane came out firing in both legs of their home-away double.

The 36ers had positive contributions from a number of guys but collectively, just couldn’t get the job done on the defensive end. They gave up 108 on the road and then came back to Adelaide and gave up 93, going down on the buzzer.

One of their big issues involved consistently giving up good looks on the perimeter.

Te Rangi and Gibson combined for 10-of-13 threes on Thursday and then Gliddon lit them up for a career-high 30 on Sunday, hitting 6-of-12 threes.

After the game, head coach Joey Wright was fuming that his message to turn Gliddon into a driver was not heeded by his squad.

“The positive is we lost the same way. If we stop doing that we might win,” Wright said.

“Once they (the players) get a picture in their mind that it’s that, it’s that, it’s that, it’s that, then stop doing that. And right now we’re not stopping doing it.

“It hasn’t hurt enough. We have the capabilities but it hasn’t hurt enough right now.”

Adelaide, who have now dropped to 3-5, will look to halt their three-game losing streak this Saturday when the Kings bring their star-studded line-up to town.

 

The views on this page are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBL, it’s Clubs or partners.

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