Don’t look now, but the giant killers of the competition the Cairns Taipans are in the top four after a dominant weekend that saw them beat the New Zealand Breakers and the ladder leaders Sydney Kings.
The Perth Wildcats were also dominant this past weekend with back-to-back wins against Sydney and South East Melbourne. Melbourne United smacked the 36ers while the Breakers and the Bullets split their weekend.
Obviously the surprise disappointment was the Kings who were 11-1 before the weekend started but manage to drop two games.
Meanwhile, the Bullets who defeated an undermanned Illawarra earlier in the week managed to drop their bundle again against a dysfunctional Breakers team that were without Next Star gun RJ Hampton and had to fire troubled import Glen Rice Jr the morning of the game.
Stock Up: Cairns Taipans
Don’t look now but the Snakes are in the top four. After winning both games, the team from FNQ served notice to the comp that they can hang with the best of them.
Scott Machado is the leader of this team and put himself squarely into the MVP conversation after a masterful weekend of setting the table for his teammates but also making the right play for his team down the stretch.
The Taipans look like a team brimming with confidence and will need to live up to the moniker of giant killers with the Perth Wildcats coming in looking for revenge before traveling south to take on a South East Melbourne team who is also vying for a playoff spot.
Stock Up: Perth Wildcats
The Wildcats had a bounce-back week after being heavily critised after their loss to Adelaide over a week ago. Not only did they bounce the Sydney Kings at home but they also went to work against the Phoenix on the road. Cotton, Kay and White had dominate weekends and will need to continue to do so for the Wildcats success.
They do play their bogey team in the Taipans who have beaten them twice already this year but then head home to familiar surroundings of the Jungle. Look for the Wildcats to destroy a struggling Brisbane team who have been underwhelming so far this season.
Stock Up: Shawn Long
Now that’s how you bounce back from a form slump! Mr Double-Double got out of trouble and had himself a game against the 36ers, with 34 points, 15 rebounds in 32 minutes and showed us why he’s one of the best bigs in this league. He comes up against Andrew Bogut this weekend before playing against cellar dwellers Illawarra to complete the round.
Stock Down: Brisbane Bullets
In fairness they handled their business against the undermanned Illawarra Hawks but laid a turd against the Breakers. Inconsistency and balance have hurt the Bullets this season and without a roster change on the horizon I fail to see where the Bullets go from here.
The biggest head scratcher was why Lamar Patterson didn’t start against the Breakers? I’m sure there is more to the story but he is undoubtedly the best player on the team and needs to be on the court as much as possible. The Bullets need a legit four-man or a pure point guard and at the moment they have neither.
Stock Down: Glen Rice Jr
The tumultuous tenure of Glen Rice Jr is finally over. This to me is more sad than anything else because of the perceived reality that something isn’t right.
A guy with abundance of talent was arrested for a second time the night before the Bullets game and was later released by the club the morning of the game.
We knew that he was a gamble coming into the NBL because of his prior convictions (Google it) but the Breakers threw him a lifeline which he wasn’t able to hold on to. He is undoubtedly a serious basketball talent but I hope he gets whatever help he needs and gets back on track.