The Brisbane Bullets have raced into the top four and have left Melbourne United in its dust.
The Wildcats and Kings handled their business while the Taipans survived a late rallying Phoenix group.
United died in the ass in the second half versus the Kings. Adelaide were unable to hold home court against the Bullets and the Breakers fell agonisingly close on the road to the Wildcats.
The Phoenix fell to the two hottest teams in the NBL in the Bullets and the Taipans, while Illawarra’s woes continued with the trouncing from their bigger brothers from up the road.
Stock Up: Will Magnay
In 2002 the WWE had Brock Lesner coined as “The next big thing.” In 2020 the NBL has it’s own “next big thing” in Will Magnay. The 21-year-old, who stands at 208cm has come on in leaps and bounds this season.
Magnay has had 22 blocks with only eight fouls in the past four games. His ability to not only block shots but also change shots at the rim has really helped anchor the Bullets defence.
With the top three teams all having dominating bigs in Bogut, Plumlee and Oliver that patrol the paint for their respective teams, the exceptional play of Magnay would please Bullets supporters as a credible championship threat with his ability to contain opposition big men.
With a desperate Melbourne United coming to town, Magnay will have to keep Shawn Long at bay.
Long, who has under-delivered on a potential championship winning roster will need to be at his best to get United over the line.
However, expect Magnay to continue his amazing play and snuff out any hopes of a Melbourne finals berth.
Stock Up: Miles Plumlee
Another big guy with another big weekend was Perth’s newest toy, import Miles Plumlee. After battling foul trouble in his first two games, the big man made a statement to the Red Army and the NBL with a 23-point ,17-rebound performance against the Breakers.
His athletic ability has changed the dynamic of the Wildcats roster. He not only dunks everything at one end but also changes shots with his timing and imposing structure.
The Wildcats were missing a centre after the departure of Angus Brandt in the off-season but have struck gold with another blue-collar player.
Stock Up: Sydney Kings
The Sydney Kings whacked their opposition over the weekend. First they destroyed the Illawarra Hawks before running away with a comfortable win against Melbourne United in the second half.
The Kings were led by Jae’Sean Tate who has averaged 19.5 points, but it was the hot shooting of the Kings especially from deep that served as an ominous warning to the competition.
Sydney have rested troops and are ready for an assault on the NBL Finals. It will be interesting to see what they do with Lisch as he finally returns from injury considering the hot form of Deshon Taylor of late. Either way the Kings under Will Weaver’s leadership look ready.
Stock Down: SE Phoenix Defence
In years gone by, had you put up 101 and 102 points respectively in a weekend you were walking away with two wins and everything would be looking up. In reality for the Phoenix they lost both games giving up 108 and 103 points to two of the hottest teams in the competition.
We’ve been wowed by the offensive exploits of the Phoenix in year one but when reviewing this roster in the off-season, defence will have to become a priority.
They’ve given up over 100 points in eight out of their last 13 games. They also gave up 98 to the Kings and 97 to the Wildcats and Breakers in that stretch.
The Phoenix are trying to out-score you at the moment and coming against an Adelaide 36ers group who need a win to stay in contention this will be a nightmare of a game of the defensive purists of the world.
My Bet: Same Game Multi, Adelaide 11+ vs Phoenix into total points (+190.5) over = approx. $6
Stock Down: RIP Kobe
This sucks. Waking up on Monday morning to the news of Kobe was devastating. He transcended basketball. He was a global brand known for his “Mamba Mentality.”
I will always remember at the 2012 Olympics when he single-handily took over our game. We had closed the gap to six points in the third quarter and then Kobe happened.
Draining six threes and being the man on a team that consisted of LeBron, Durant, Westbrook, AD and Harden just to name a few. It was disheartening at the time but on reflection, it was amazing to witness greatness at the highest level. He was the man amongst the men.
I took my two boys Taz and Axel out of school during Kobe’s last game. I shared that moment with my boys sitting in the carpark of the school watching a game in what will be folklore for years to come.
Kobe was taken from all of us too soon, but we thank you for the memories as we all aspire to be the athlete, the father and the role model you were for so many years.