NBL | As It Stands – Round 18

ROUND 18 of the 2023/24 season of the National Basketball League (NBL) showcased that the race for the championship is wide open with just two weeks remaining.

Six games took place from Thursday to Sunday, with each game having a heavy amount of importance given the fact that entering the round, every side was still in the running for a spot in the play-in at the very least.

There were some cracking contests, and some telling performances from teams in crucial outings, as the contenders began to emerge while some sides made life extremely difficult for themselves with some unfortunate losses.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will continue its As It Stands series, unpacking all the action from the round and what it means moving forward.

As It Stands

Cairns Taipans (86) def. by Tasmania JackJumpers (94)

The Taipans have made their path to the play-in much trickier after falling to the JackJumpers to the tune of eight points at Cairns Convention Centre on Thursday night. It was a solid outing from Tasmania to kickstart the round, as the team from the Apple Isle firmed for a home play-in match in the coming weeks, while Cairns will likely need a miracle from here.

Damaging backcourt duo Jordan Crawford and Milton Doyle were big factors in the win, and when they both get going, it makes Tasmania hard to stop. Crawford posted 25 points and was influential as the JackJumpers broke away, while Doyle had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.

Adelaide 36ers (85) def. Sydney Kings (78)

The 36ers have made it two from two against the Kings recently, after defeating the reigning champions by seven points at Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday night. Despite the visitors leading at every change, Adelaide stormed home with a 31-19 final period to push towards the top six as the fixture comes to a close.

Big man Isaac Humphries was again the star of the show, posting 20 points and 11 rebounds in a continuation of his ripping form, while Dejan Vasiljevic was excellent as well with 20 points against his former side.

Illawarra Hawks (89) def. Brisbane Bullets (76)

The Hawks continued their rapid move up the rankings with an impressive 14-point win over the Bullets at WIN Entertainment Centre on Saturday. Brisbane looked to have the game in the bag after moving to a four-point lead at the final change and holding all of the momentum. However, Illawarra finished like a house on fire with a 27-10 fourth period to move up to fourth spot in the standings.

Star import Gary Clark continues to get it done for Illawarra, posting another double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds as he thrives as the team’s number-one option, while Justin Robinson was excellent with 16 points and five assists as well.

Melbourne United (99) def. SEM Phoenix (83)

As expected, United got the job done over the Phoenix in another instalment of the Throwdown series at John Cain Arena on Saturday night. Melbourne took control of the game early, and got the better of a Phoenix side that was depleted and without its biggest and most important players. Despite a late charge from South East Melbourne, the ladder-leaders held on for a 16-point win.

It was a balanced team performance for United, with five players scoring 12 or more points in what is an ominous sign of what is to come ahead of the postseason. Given Melbourne has so many weapons, Saturday’s performance showed it will be tough to stop.

Tasmania JackJumpers (109) def. Adelaide 36ers (86)

The JackJumpers went 2-0 for Round 18 when they defeated the 36ers at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon. Tasmania was clinical from the get-go, jumping out to a 10-point lead at the first change and winning every quarter from there. The JackJumpers are now in prime position for a top-four finish, and are picking up some momentum on the eve of the postseason.

Forward Jack McVeigh delivered a season-best performance in the win against his old team, posting 26 points and was an offensive force. The JackJumpers looked to get the ball in his hands wherever possible, and he repaid the faith with some strong shotmaking.

Perth Wildcats (78) def. by New Zealand Breakers (89)

The most surprising result of the round came in the form of New Zealand’s 11-point triumph over the red-hot Wildcats at RAC Arena. The Breakers conquered the longest road trip in the NBL, and put extra attention into star guard Bryce Cotton, which frustrated the MVP fancy and in turn, unsettled the Wildcats as a whole.

Import Zylan Cheatham was tremendous for the winning side, producing a game-high 24 points, and proving a serious source of issues for Perth’s defence, while Parker Jackson-Cartwright was also impressive with 19 points of his own.


1. Melbourne United (18-7)
2. Perth Wildcats (16-9)
3. Tasmania JackJumpers (14-12)
4. Illawarra Hawks (12-12)
5. Sydney Kings (12-14)
6. Brisbane Bullets (12-14)
7. New Zealand Breakers (11-13)
8. Cairns Taipans (11-15)
9. Adelaide 36ers (11-15)
10. SEM Phoenix (10-16)

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