Round 11 saw the Kings shake off the losses of Round 10 with a dominant display against Melbourne United, while the Perth Wildcats walked away with two wins at the expense of the Queensland teams.
The 36ers were also back with back-to-back nail-biting wins that saw them leapfrog into fourth place and the Phoenix found a way to snap their losing streak in spectacular fashion against the Snakes.
The Taipans were the biggest losers of the round letting two games slip out of their grasp while Brisbane, New Zealand and Ilawarra were winless for the round which put another dent in their finals aspirations.
Stock Up: Jerome Randle (ADEL)
Handles by Randle came to play in this round. He was the man down the stretch and didn’t disappoint with not one but two go-ahead buckets to lift his team to back-to-back wins for the round.
It started with 26 points, four rebounds and eight assists against the Phoenix which we can all agree on was the game of the season so far. Then two days later, he travelled across the ditch and played against a team who were fresh and waiting and still had 29 points and four assists in 29 minutes.
When Jerome gets in these moods watch out NBL! There’s going to be a few more highlights of people put on skates and I can’t wait to see it.
Stock Up: John Roberson (PHX)
We knew he was one of the best shooters in the world off the dribble and we got to see why coach Simon Mitchell was so excited when they signed him in the off-season.
To paint the picture, the Phoenix were down by six points with 11 seconds to go. South East Melbourne made a few defensive plays and Roberson knocked down the shot to send it to OT.
He then single-handedly destroyed the Taipans to get the win. He tallied 21 points in six minutes and ended the game with 32 points in total. OMG that was a display for the ages!
Stock Up: Sydney Kings
The Kings were wiped off the court the previous round and the experts were eager to sink their teeth in for the first time this season. With a marque match-up against Melbourne United many were expecting the Kings would be beaten again since the game was in Melbourne.
In reality the Kings were awesome and sent another shockwave through the competition of how dominate they are. Casper Ware was the chief destroyer of his old club, going for 28 points in 26 minutes and led the Kings to a 23-point win.
With games against the Bullets and Phoenix ahead I’d expect them to move to 14-3 on the season and continue on their merry way.
Stock Down: Cairns Taipans
Dammit Taipans! You get yourself into the top four and get dubbed the giant killers, and then let two games slip from your grasp this week.
A four-point loss to the Wildcats would have hurt because the number of missed layups in the opening quarter. They had the Wildcats number again but give credit where credit is due, the Wildcats are one hell of a team that finds ways to win.
Then Jarrod Kenny turns the ball over twice in the closing moments of the Phoenix game and somehow suffer defeat from the jaws of victory. Coach Mike Kelly would have had nightmares all week and will need to bounce back against the 36ers who looked the goods over the weekend.
Stock Down: Next Gen Stars
Its wasn’t that long ago that I wrote about how special it was to have this next gen talent out here and since then disaster has struck.
LaMelo Ball (Hawks) sidelined with a foot injury, RJ Hampton (Breakers) also out and Didi Louzada (Kings) struggling with consistency while we’ve barely seen Terry Armstrong (Phoenix) at all.
It’s a shame because for the most part they’ve been exciting additions to the league and while injuries are part of sport it shows you the physical demands of being a pro.
No doubt they’re some NBA stars of the future that have graced the NBL hardwood this season and I hope we all get to see them play again before the season’s done.