NBL | As It Stands – Round 7

THE end of another weekend means the conclusion of the round in the National Basketball League (NBL), with the seventh week of play delivering some of the most entertaining action yet.

In a shorter week of play, Round 7 did not start until Friday, after the previous batch of games rolled through until the Monday. This meant that there were only five games from Friday to Sunday, with no teams playing more than one game. Despite there being a few less games than previous weeks, there was still plenty to unpack as the contenders emerged victorious in some exhilarating affairs. Now seven rounds in, the gap between the contending sides and the hopefuls is beginning to extend, and the ladder is starting to settle.

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.

Perth Wildcats (94) def. New Zealand Breakers (76)

The Wildcats continued their significant in-season turnaround, making the most of home court advantage at RAC Arena to hand the Breakers another loss. Perth was in the box seat from the onset, storming out to a 12-3 lead, and New Zealand never truly challenged as its form slump continues. The Wildcats have found the form that many expected from them, while the Breakers have fallen to 2-6.

It was Perth’s stars that led from the front and no one was bigger than Bryce Cotton, whose form has reflected that of his side this season. He continued the resurgence of his level of play, and produced a vintage performance with 37 points on 12/20 shooting from the field and 6/13 from behind the arc. Injury replacement player Anthony Lamb was New Zealand’s best with 25 points off the bench.

Cairns Taipans (81) def. Illawarra Hawks (71)

After overcoming a sluggish start, the Taipans came to life in the second half to claim a 10-point win over the Hawks at Cairns Convention Centre on Saturday evening. Illawarra outplayed the home side in the first two quarters to lead by 15 at the main break, and the missing players for Cairns was beginning to play a real factor. However, the Taipans delivered after the main break to maintain an undefeated record at home, and move to 4-4 on the season.

It was the duo of Bul Kuol (19 points) and Tahjere McCall (16 points) that got the job done for Cairns in the second half, stepping up in the absence of some key names, while Sam Waardenberg was excellent with 15 points of his own. Gary Clark (19 points) was Illawarra’s best, picking up the slack after star guard Tyler Harvey was sensationally benched.

Adelaide 36ers (72) def. by Tasmania JackJumpers (82)

The JackJumpers made it two on the trot by handing the 36ers a 10-point loss at Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday night. Tasmania’s restrictive defence made life difficult for the 36ers, who were suffocated in the first three quarters. Adelaide rallied in the final period, but the JackJumpers absorbed the scoreboard pressure, and delivered some clutch baskets down the stretch to snag win number six and remain in third spot.

Star guard duo Jordan Crawford (17 points) and Milton Doyle (13 points, eight assists, four steals) were the most influential players on the floor, while former 36er Jack McVeigh had 14 points. For Adelaide, Dejan Vasiljevic stepped up after a quiet first three quarters to finish with 16 points.

SEM Phoenix (83) def. by Melbourne United (92)

The Phoenix were handed their first loss at John Cain Arena of the season, after falling to an undermanned United side on Sunday afternoon. Despite missing a number of key players and producing an inaccurate performance at the free throw line (16/26), Melbourne emerged victorious in the Throwdown, with a few big names leading the way.

The Phoenix simply could not stop the duo of Chris Goulding and Jo Lual Acuil, with the pair proving matchwinning in the end. Goulding finished with 27 points, knocking home some big shots from behind the arc, including a ridiculously deep triple from the logo when the game was on the line. Lual Acuil slotted into the starting lineup with ease, producing 26 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks in an emphatic return.

Sydney Kings (104) def. Brisbane Bullets (95)

The Kings produced a remarkable comeback at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon, handing a valiant Brisbane outfit a nine-point loss in an exciting finish. With three minutes to play, the Bullets led by six points and had full control of the game, before clutch plays on both ends of the floor got Sydney back in the contest. The home side produced the last 15 points of the game, winning their third game in a row.

Former NBL Most Valuable Player Jaylen Adams was at his best when the game was on the line late, producing crucial back to back buckets and finishing the game with 24 points and four assists. In the frontcourt, DJ Hogg was strong with 16 points and some vital defensive plays late in the game. For Brisbane, Nathan Sobey suffered some tight defensive coverage but still top-scored with 17 points.


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

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