Watching other basketball from around the world, whether that is NBA games full of bland homers calling the game, or the painful solo commentary on livebasketball.tv, it makes me actually appreciate NBL commentary, thanks to the mostly unbiased retired NBL players offering some good insight and banter. Dwayne Russell is the main culprit in bringing NBL commentary back down.
As for the refereeing influencing the game by letting some calls go, no doubt that was an issue, but that is a partial excuse for the poor product on display. The NBL is full of many classic contests when referees decided to just let teams play without interference. In this game there were plenty of open looks missing, blown dunks, terrible free-throw shooting by Sydney. When you have Kickert, a 90% free-throw shooter, going 0/2 and Newley, a career 70% free-throw shooter, go 0/4, something odd is going on. Sydney's offense generally looked stalled, and I don't think United's defense deserves so much of the credit in that.