NBL Round 16 Winners & Losers: Randle Rampage, Circus Shots & NZ Breaking

Pic via NBL


Jerome Randle

To quote Downtown’s Editor-in-Chief, “Jerome Randle told us seven weeks ago, we just weren’t listening.”

Randle had MVP promise from day one, but this week the gap between the Sixers star and the pack was so large you could’ve flown a plane through it.

Randle was firing from the get go against Sydney on Wednesday night. As his teammates gradually joined the party, Randle took his game to yet another level, one few others can reach.  

Finishing with 41 points on 76% shooting – no that is not a typo – Randle guided the Sixers from a 10-point deficit towards the end of the third quarter, to a seven-point victory.

When the chips were down, Adelaide’s recently acquired, explosive ball of energy erupted for 7,000 fans to see.

The Cal product finished with the highest scoring total registered by a 36er since peak Adam Ballinger scored 46 in December 2007.

Randle wasn’t quite himself to start Adelaide’s matchup with Melbourne 48 hours later, finishing the first half with five points on 1-9 shooting.

Anyone who thought Randle would submit a similar second half clearly hadn’t seen enough of this man play. He dropped 21 points on 9-12 shooting in the second half and – at times literally – ran Melbourne off the floor, leading Adelaide to a spectacular comeback.

Randle has produced six straight Adelaide wins and endless jaw-dropping stats. Try this one on for size: no player has ever averaged 20 points and 5 assists in the 40-minute era, but Randle is averaging 24.5 points and 5.2 assists.

The Sixers point guard is also the first Adelaide player to score at least 25 points in five straight games since 2008. The last 36er to do so was Julius Hodge, a man who still holds the record for the most ‘wanted posters’ plastered across Adelaide.


Adelaide 36ers & Titanium Security Arena  

To top off an already rock solid week in Adelaide, Titanium Security Arena copped one hell of a makeover.

Gone is the prehistoric, eternally malfunctioning ‘Team A and Team B’ scoreboard – which served no function other than regularly trolling upwards of 6,000 people with ‘now you see me now you don’t’ statistics. In its place is four HD screens to form a ‘score-cube’, as well as spectacular Staples Center-esque lighting to set the mood and a $450,000 sound system.

The overall product is in-your-face-awesome and makes each game feel like an event. Jerome Randle’s heroics and a near sell-out crowd of 7,000 on a Wednesday night – an extreme rarity for the Sixers since their glory days – didn’t hurt the overall game night experience either.

Titanium Security Arena will always be the Clipsal Powerhouse to many long-time 36ers fans. But the old Powerhouse never looked like this.


Jarrod Kenney

Jarrod Kenny made his NBL debut this season at the ripe old age of 30. When Damian Martin went down at the start of the campaign, Kenny stepped into the starting role for Perth and proved himself to be more than capable of competing at the NBL level.

You can now safely add three quarter court bombs to that list of capabilities.

Welcome to the NBL, Jarrod Kenny. It’s a pleasure having you.


Torrey Craig

Sticking with the trick shot theme for a minute and Torrey Craig managed a shot which didn’t trump Kenny’s in terms of distance, but is hard to top on the degree of difficulty charts.

With 0.8 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Mark Worthington rifled a pass to Torrey Craig. Craig leaped from just inside the half way line, caught the ball in the air and nailed a wild banker in one fluid motion.

It was the kind of stuff that’s usually reserved for post practice shooting competitions and Harlem Globetrotter exhibitions.

Craig then topped it off by getting to the line and hitting the match winning free throws with 8.2 seconds remaining.



New Zealand Breakers

The Sunshine Swing was not kind to the slumping New Zealand Breakers.

New Zealand went down to Townsville 89-66 and Cairns 90-87, capping off six straight losses.

The Breakers struggled mightily on offence in Townsville, shooting at 36% from the field and 25% from deep. Cedric Jackson, Corey Webster and Thomas Abercrombie combined to shoot an unappetising 8-30 (26%).

In Cairns – where the Breakers’ losing streak started – New Zealand led for all but 30 seconds. They were the better team for the majority of the night, and yet still couldn’t hold on.

A shake up may prove to be as vital for these Breakers as it generally is for James Bond’s Martinis.


Illawarra Hawks

Illawarra had their pants pulled down in front of 13,000 people on Thursday when they lost by 23 in Perth.

Illawarra, led by former Wildcats Kevin Lisch and Rob Beveridge, have now lost all four matchups with Perth this season.

In fact, the last time Illawarra won in Perth, John Howard and George Bush were still in power and the iPhone didn’t exist. We’re talking November 2005.

That comes to 21 consecutive losses in Perth, for those of you keeping score at home.

With an Illawarra vs Perth semi final series looming as a distinct possibility, the Hawks desperately need to rid themselves of their Perth curse.

Perhaps an exorcism would be worth a try.


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