Up the Gold Coast for Christmas and couldn't believe my luck when I found out the Sixers were in town. Couple of things I picked up on;
The Furnace is a great place to watch basketball, not a bad seat in the house and the movie cinema chairs make it all the more comfortable!
Despite the great viewing and exceptional seating, the atmosphere is not even slightly close to what we get week in week out in Adelaide. We are a very, very lucky basketball community.
The Blaze have very efficient merchandise stands and their players are very interactive with fans throughout the week and before and after games.
The scoreboard is pretty sweet as well!
Now to the game.
I went to the home game a few weeks back and saw an exciting contest and was expecting the same tonight. The first quarter gave exactly what I expected..plenty of offence and next to no defence from both sides. It was all downhill after that!
Seems the same thing every week is that our defense is an absolute disgrace. Creek is one of our top 2 one on one defenders and he struggled tonight. Herbert has clearly lost a step since his knee injury and he is our second best. The rest i'm afraid could not guard a stobie pole. You know you're in real trouble when Darren Ng is you're best team defender. I have not always been a big fan of Darren but he has clearly worked hard on his defence. He was the only guy getting to splitline and then helping out on rotations and when I say 'the only guy' I literally mean it! Credit to Darren tonight, he was very solid in his time on the floor.
Moving to the other end of the court, offensively we seem really lost. The amount of times that we ineffectively moved the ball around the three point line only to dump it into Diamon or DJ with single digits on the clock and nowhere to go was astounding and very frustrating to watch. Inside the paint is the best way to score points but tonight it seemed our only way. When the Blaze got help defenders and clogged the paint we had absolutely no answer. Very little inside outside action and lots of guys *cough* Stephen Weigh *cough* just standing outside the perimeter watching. It's clear we are looking to go inside alot more and credit to Marty for recognising that but you've gotta have a plan B mate and tonight we had nothing else.
Breaking down the players performance;
Daniel Johnson - always a threat offensively, some shots just didn't fall. Defensively gotta be tougher in all areas, should be pulling down more rebounds 4 isn't enough although admittedly the Blaze didn't miss alot. MUST KEEP HIM.
Diamon Simpson - also a constant threat offensively, worked extremely hard all night and took alot of hits. MUST KEEP HIM.
Stephen Weigh - apart from the second shot of the game went totally unnoticed. Can't play himself into games and just doesn't get involved. Doesn't have a clue about defence, but then again neither does most of the team.
Mitch Creek - really struggled tonight guarding Gibson but then most would have. I really like that he's starting and getting more minutes. Was hindered by foul trouble tonight but is still our best one on one defender. Once he develops a jumpshot he'll be fantastic.
Chris Warren - doesn't seem to be much of a facilitator. Is quick but struggles to finish around the rim. Can be explosive but isn't consistent enough. Also struggles defensively. Just wasn't on tonight.
Nathan Herbert - struggled offensively, struggled defensively. Total brain fade to go and double Gibson who was running the clock out to end the half when he had to leave Cadee, who'd just hit 2 threes in a row. Barely made it half way when Gibson lobbed it over his head to an open Cadee who splashed his third triple. Has really lost a step. Played two many minutes.
Darren Ng - deserved more minutes tonight, played great team defence and held his own one on one. Hit 3 threes. One of the few sixers who looked to get out of first gear.
Tom Daly - could've sworn he played more than 2 minutes. Seemed pretty comfortable out there handling the ball. Isn't much of a scoring threat but doesn't turn it over and gets the offence in some sort of motion. Deserved more of Herbert and Weigh's minutes.
Everard Bartlett - looked a little lost and a bit shy but will be a scoring threat unlike most. Was harsh of Marty to throw him in as the lone ball handler in the last quarter considering he seemed to know little offence. Did reasonably well for his first game and hit his first shot.
Wade Helliwell - offers nothing at either end, I would rather see us play DJ and Diamon for 35 minutes each and play small ball for 10 or so. Needs a haircut.
Adam Gibson - utter class. As if 27 8 and 4 doesn't say enough. Get him in the green and gold I say.
Will Hudson - came off the bench and got fend some handy dunks, mainly from Adelaide's defence. You know you're bad when Petrie fumbles the ball and it bounces straight through the middle of the key leaving Hudson to chase it and dunk uncontested. Did flop on a Helliwell elbow, not a fan of him but did his job.
Jason Cadee - was a spark and constant perimeter threat of the bench. Knocked down his shots tonight. Won't ever be Boomers worthy, but a good developing kid.
Adris Deleon - was contained reasonably well by Warren and Creek actually. Probably tried to do too much which explains the 6 turnovers and was oddly rotated by Wright. Wasn't the scoring threat he was in Adelaide a few weeks ago.
Tom Garlepp - had some nice blocks tonight. His 3 turnovers let him down a little but didn't really effect anything more than his stats. More athletic than he looks, handy role player.
Anthony Petrie - probably the guy I dislike the most from the Blaze. Sticks his nose in everything and is more talk than walk. Hit some jumpers tonight but otherwise just got up my nose.
Stephen Hoare - still a savvy vet. Started tonight and had 10 8 and 4. Does more than what the stats suggest.
Chris Goulding - was always a huge fan of his since high stakes hoops however he seems to be a real arrogant twat. Very inconsistent and doesn't do a whole lot apart from hit the occassional 3 and it was the same tonight. Flopped on countless occassions, whined to the refs and talked more trash than his game backed up. Disappointing considering he used to be one of my favourite players. Still has fantastic hustle, something the Sixers miss. Probably would like him more if he was wearing Sixer blue.
Mark Worthington - love him at the Boomers, hate him anywhere else. Picked up 4 quick fouls and they were ALL legitimate hacks. Winged and complained at everyone and continued to do so on the bench. Should be T'd up and shut up. Sixers dealt with him well.
Marty Clarke - rotations weren't awful but not spectacular. Offence is hit and miss and defence is non-existent. What does his future hold?
Joey Wright - interesting rotation of Deleon. Was fired up in the first half when it was close with his usual whining to the refs but calmed in the second when the lead blew out.
Referees - were alright in periods and dreadful in others. Lacked consistency. Missed some horrors like Goulding's speckie on Ng and Hoare and Hudson's high tackle on Diamon and then called some shockers like Weigh's illegal screen. Inconsistent, but the Sixers were worse.
Oh and on another note. Anyone at the game notice the constant trash the courtside announcer was talking? His constant "and another brick" sledging whilst true seemed pretty unprofessional. Can't imagine Skip or anyone from Adelaide pulling this.