THE National Basketball League (NBL) Blitz preseason competition is past the halfway point, with plenty of action as the league’s 10 teams hit the court in Darwin ahead of the fixture commencement next weekend.
The final night of action saw the Adelaide 36ers claim the Blitz title for 2022, despite not playing a game on Friday. It came down to the clash between the Brisbane Bullets and Melbourne United, with the latter coming away with the win and denying the Bullets the preseason title. The other match in the evening saw the Sydney Kings prove slightly too good for New Zealand Breakers.
While the results have no say on the regular season directly, there is still a bit to take out of the evening’s action on the eve of next Saturday’s tip-off.
1. Humphries set to step up for United
Following the disappointing season-ending injury to Ariel Hukporti earlier in the week, there was a gaping void in United’s lineup in the big man department. However, injury-prone center Isaac Humphries stepped up in the team’s final performance, and may just solve that issue. In 27 minutes of play, he had 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, and certainly had a big impact on the contest. After missing the past few seasons with injury, he might be set for a big campaign.
2. Goulding still the man for Melbourne
Veteran sharpshooter Chris Goulding has played a crucial role in Melbourne’s success over the last decade, and that pattern looks to continue into 2022/23. Against the Bullets, he nailed a team-high 19 points on 5/12 shooting, and was an integral part of the team’s structure on the offensive end. Look for him to have another impressive season, despite being due to turn 34 in October, showing that age is just a number for a skillset like his.
3. Kings edge past impressive Breakers
The Sydney Kings will be aiming for consecutive titles when they hit the court for the upcoming NBL season. They were able to claim the top gong last year, and have retained much of the same core group that got the job done a few months ago. On Friday, they managed to claim an eight-point victory over a youthful Breakers side, and while it is clear that the Breakers have improved and should be a better side this year, if you want to win the championship, you still have to go through the Kings of the jungle.