Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hodge wins Player of the Week

Finally I agree with the NBL head office and correctly picked Julius Hodge (pictured below) from the 36ers as the Player of the Week. Click on the title below to read the full story. (side note: Nice to see the league misspelling one of their young star's surname. In their defence, Luke's isn't an easy one.)

Most of the NBL blogs seem to have shut down over the festive season but John Rillie is still going strong. Click here for an article he's found questioning the strength of the league restructuring plan.

Speaking of JR, I'm likely heading down the coast on Sunday to see the Crocs take on the Blaze. This will be my 2nd NBL game this season and hopefully I do some blogging of it or at least get some decent game footage to show you. Stay tuned ... and hopefully the "good" Crocs show up for the game this weekend.

NBL > News

Adelaide '36ers star import Julius Hodge has taken out the National Basketball League’s Player of the Week Award for Round 15. This is Hodge's second Player of the Week honour after taking the award in Round 10.

Hodge scored a game high 31 points and pulled in eight rebounds to lead the '36ers to a crucial road victory over the Melbourne Tigers 109 – 91 at the Cage on Saturday night. Hodge shot an amazing 13 of 19 from the field at a 68% clip.

In a round of NBL action where no team played twice, Hodge's efforts narrowly edged out his team mate Luke Schensher who compiled a stat line of 21 points and 15 rebounds.


Monday, December 29, 2008

NBL wrap - round 15

Not surprisingly being the festive season, round 15 in the NBL was one of the shortest you're likely to see. Here are the numbers that matter:

Dragons 117 Blaze 87

For the Dragons:

Adam Gibson 18 points
Nick Horvath 16 points, 5 boards
Joe Ingles 17 points (6 of 8 from the field including 4 triples)

For the Blaze:

James Harvey 25 points (including 6 triples), 7 boards
Luke Whitehead 19 points, 8 boards

This game wasn't ever close with the Dragons up by 15 at the first break and then 29 at the half. All 12 Dragons that stepped on court scored ... even Tariq Naqqash (development player maybe?) who played less than 4 minutes but scored 5 points. Dragons welcomed new import Donta Smith. Shane Heal returned for the Blaze ... it didn't help.

Wildcats 97 Crocodiles 76

For the Wildcats:

Isiah Victor 23 points, 6 boards (in just 25 minutes off the bench)
Peter Crawford 19 points, 7 boards
Shawn Redhage 15 points, 11 boards

For the Crocs:

Corey Williams 21 points (8 of 11 from the field)
Cameron Tovey 13 points, 6 boards

When things go bad for the Crocs they go very bad. Townsville shot just 36% from the field, 10% from downtown and 57% from the line. The foul count favoured the Wildcats 23 - 35.

36ers 109 Tigers 91

For the 36ers:

Julius Hodge 31 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists
Luke Schenscher 21 points, 15 boards, 4 blocks
Brett Maher 19 points, 7 assists
Adam Ballinger 18 points, 7 boards
Jacob Holmes 13 points, 13 boards

For the Tigers:

Rod Grizzard 25 points, 6 boards, 3 blocks
Ebi Ere 20 points, 10 boards
Chris Anstey 12 points, 12 boards

Adelaide jumped Melbourne early leading 62 - 38 at the half. 36ers shot 50% from the field while holding the Tigers to less than 40%. This win on the road stamps the 36ers as serious contenders in the league.

Hawks 121 Spirit 117

For the Hawks:

Cameron Tragardh 25 points, 4 boards
Glen Saville 22 points (including 6 triples), 7 assists, 6 boards
Lindsay Tait 20 points, 5 assists

For the Spirit:

Matthew Knight 23 points, 12 boards
Blagov Jenov 21 points, 4 boards (in just 19 minutes off the bench)
Jason Smith 15 points, 7 boards

The Spirit stormed home in the final quarter but it was too little too late. In a high-scoring game, both teams shot above 50% from the field. Good to see the Hawks finally get a win again.

After round 15 in the NBL, the Dragons still lead the league 2 wins (having played 2 more games) ahead of the Breakers in 2nd place with 3rd to 7th pretty tight. Blaze still stuck on the bottom.

I'm in early again so my pick for Player of the Week (if they have one for such a small round) is Julius Hodge for his game against the Tigers. If you picked him up in your fantasy league you must be killing it now!

Now to the Vlade Divac Flop of the Week. The nominations this week go to David Barlow from the Tigers (3 of 14 from the field in the loss to the 36ers), Jason Smith from Sydney (4 of 15 from the field and 5 turnovers in the loss to the Hawks) and I hate to say it ... my boy John Rillie from Townsville (1 of 9 from the field in the loss to the Wildcats). The award however goes to Justin Bowen from the Gold Coast for his 0 of 10 from the field and 3 turnovers in their flogging by the Dragons. Yes, Bowen has won this award before and his 0 of 5 from downtown proves that he still thinks he has an outside shot.

Our Shooter of the Week as always is brought to you by Shooting Basketball Tips. The runner-up on a countback is the red-hot James Harvey from the Blaze. Harvey shot 50% from the field including 6 of 10 from downtown but his team lost and he only hit 3 of 6 from the line. Honourable mention goes to Blagov Jenov from the Spirit from his shooting explosion off the bench against the Hawks (6 of 7 from the field, including 4 of 4 from downtown). But the winner is Glen Saville from the Hawks (pictured below when he played for the Sydney Kings) for leading his team to their first win in 9 games thanks to his 22 points, 7 of 14 from the field, 6 of 9 from downtown and 2 of 2 from the line. As a shooter, Glen is streaky to say the least ... he can either be good or very bad at times. Thankfully for the Hawks, this week he was on, especially from downtown.


Merry Christmas ... plus some hot shooting



I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Christmas. My Christmas present to you this year is this. If like me you don't have cable TV or (also like me) you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, this website is great for watching NBA games online.

Today I watched the Lakers take care of business against the Warriors. I mentioned hot shooting in the title and the one in form in that game was Derek Fisher (pictured right). My friends will be surprised to hear me mention Fisher because I am a long time hater of his ... because he pushed my boy Nick Van Exel out of the Lakers in the mid-90's. Anyway, today Fisher was an impressive (for him) 9 of 12 from the field for 19 points in just 24 minutes.

Also hot were the Boston Celtics who destroyed the hapless Sacramento Kings 108 - 63. Leading the way was one of our favourites, Ray Allen with 7 of 8 from the field, 2 of 2 from downtown and 3 of 3 from the line. Not to be outdone, Kevin Garnett had 10 of 11 from the field for 21 points, 11 boards in just 22 minutes of court time. Sacramento on the other hand were anything but hot shooting just 28% from the field and only one player scoring in double figures.


Life after the NBA

Thanks to the crew at Dime for pointing out this great story about Todd MacCulloch, former NBA centre who's career was cut short by injury. I remember Todd from his playing days, mainly because we referred to him as "The Original T-Mac" (as opposed to Tracy McGrady). Click on the title below to read the full story, its well worthwhile.

Former NBA Player Todd MacCulloch Is Now a Pinball Star - washingtonpost.com

Big Man vs. Machine
Ex-NBA Player MacCulloch Has a New Passion: Pinball

By Les Carpenter
Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, December 25, 2008


BAINBRIDGE ISLAND, Wash. -- All around him there is music now. Jangling. Clanging. A little steel ball rolls up a ramp and down the ramp, off the bumper, off the flipper, off the wall, back up the ramp, back down the ramp. Lights flashing. Numbers roll.

At this moment, Todd MacCulloch is not watching the numbers. He seems to hear nothing of the constant noise ringing around him like a Las Vegas lobby in his basement, so engaged is he in the plight of the rolling steel ball. In fact he is a remarkable sight: a 7-foot-tall, nearly 300-pound man who once thrust his ample girth against Shaquille O'Neal's in two NBA finals, standing at a pinball machine called Medieval Madness that is distinguished from the dozens of other machines that surround him solely by its a ghoulish, metallic moans.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Dragons Import


After losing Cortez Groves to a season-ending shoulder injury, the Dragons have announced the signing of their new replacement import. Despite the rumours floating around NBL forums, its not Larry Abney. Click on the title below for the full story.

NBL > News

The South Dragons have given their fans an early Christmas present with the news that they have secured the services of former NBA player Donta Smith.

Smith has been plying his trade in China for Shanxi Zhongyu, where was averaging more than 22 points per game.

He was a 2004 second round draft pick for the Atlanta Hawks and played 61 NBA matches before moving to China.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NBL wrap - round 14

Here are the numbers that matter from a big round in the NBL:

Tigers 69 Taipans 63

For the Tigers:

Ebi Ere 19 points, 14 boards
Chris Anstey 18 points, 13 boards

For the Taipans:

Martin Cattalini 16 points, 9 boards
Ian Crosswhite 10 points, 9 boards

This is the lowest scoring game in NBL history and both teams shot under 35% from the field ... ugly. Both teams around 20% from downtown. Ian Crosswhite was the only player in the game to shoot 50% (or better) from the field. The less said about this one the better.

Blaze 91 Hawks 88

For the Blaze:

James Harvey 37 points (including 8 triples), 5 boards
Luke Whitehead 20 points, 14 boards
Justin Bowen 15 points, 4 boards, 3 steals

For the Hawks:

Anthony Petrie 21 points, 5 boards
Dusty Rychart 16 points, 9 boards
Glen Saville 12 points, 13 boards, 4 assists

No Heal, no problems for the Blaze. Harvey shoots a red-hot 8 of 13 from downtown. Harvey's 37 points is the most by a Blaze.

Breakers 114 Spirit 70

For the Breakers:

Phull Jones 24 points, 3 boards, 3 assists
Kirk Penney 19 points, 8 boards
Tony Ronaldson 18 points, 7 boards, 4 assists

For the Spirit:

Matthew Knight 14 points, 6 boards
Jason Smith 14 points, 5 assists

Breakers smashed the Spirit in the second half 68 - 29. Breakers hit 14 of 25 from downtown while the Spirit made just 2 of 21. Spirit shot less than 30% from the field.

Breakers 118 Wildcats 94

For the Breakers:

Kirk Penney 32 points (including 6 triples)
Tony Ronaldson 31 points (including 4 triples)
Rick Rickert 20 points, 7 boards

For the Wildcats:

Shawn Redhage 30 points (8 of 10 from the field, 12 of 12 from the line), 7 boards
Peter Crawford 29 points (including 7 triples)
Darnell Hinson 12 points, 8 assists, 6 boards

The Breakers again smashed up the second half 67 - 33 and held Perth to just 9 points in the 3rd term. The teams combined to shoot 29 of 65 from downtown and the Wildcats shot an un-Perth like 20 of 21 from the line.

36ers 107 Blaze 104

For the 36ers:

Julius Hodge 31 points, 10 assists, 4 boards
Adam Ballinger 22 points, 12 boards
Luke Schenscher 16 points, 8 boards

For the Blaze:

James Harvey 23 points (including 4 triples)
Daniel Joyce 22 points (including 4 triples), 4 boards
Luke Whitehead 14 points, 15 boards, 6 assists

Sixers come from behind at home to get the win. Again, no Heal for the Blaze and they almost win the game. Both teams shot just 60% from the free-throw line.

Tigers 128 Hawks 101

For the Tigers:

Ebi Ere 28 points (10 of 13 from the field, including 8 triples), 4 boards
Daryl Corletto 17 points, 7 boards
Chris Anstey 12 points, 9 boards

For the Hawks:

Glen Saville 25 points (including 4 triples), 4 boards
Kavossy Franklin 20 points, 7 boards
Cameron Tragardh 19 points

Tigers shoot a solid 14 of 29 from downtown and dominate the boards 49 - 27. Hawks slip-sliding away and have now lost 8 straight.

Dragons 88 Crocs 84

For the Dragons:

Mark Worthington 22 points, 10 boards, 4 assists
Tremell Darden 16 points, 7 assists
Joe Ingles 17 points

For the Crocs:

Corey Williams 27 points, 11 boards
Rosell Ellis 10 points, 12 boards

Crocs led by 8 after the first quarter but lost the next 3. Townsville shot just 13 of 22 from the line. I'm not sure what is more surprising, Corey Williams hit a 3 pointer or that he attempted 3 of them.

Spirit 101 Crocs 90

For the Spirit:

Matthew Knight 22 points, 11 boards
Jason Smith 20 points (including 6 triples), 8 boards, 4 assists
David Gruber 12 points, 5 boards, 4 blocks

For the Crocs:

Michael Cedar 27 points (including 7 triples)
Cameron Tovey 8 points, 9 boards, 3 blocks
Daniel Egan 13 points, 4 boards

Tough for the Crocs to back-up after the close loss to the Dragons the night before. Sydney dominated the boards 54 to 35. The teams combined for 42 turnovers. If Michael Cedar keeps this up he will be hard pushed not to win most improved player.

After round 14 in the NBL, the Dragons are still number 1, 1/2 a game ahead of the Breakers. The Tigers are in 3rd with Perth and Townsville tied in 4th. Blaze are still bottom with 4 wins and the Hawks have dropped 8 in a row and are 2nd last.

Player of the Week was announced earlier today as "The Bear", Tony Ronaldson from the Breakers. He averaged 24.5 points, 5 boards and 3.5 assists in two big wins for NZ. He shot 53% from the field and 55% from downtown. Runners up were apparently Julius Hodge and James Harvey.

Now to the Vlade Divac Flop of the Week. Dishonourable mentions go to Rod Grizzard from the Tigers (for shooting 1 of 7 against the Taipans), Dwayne Vale from Cairns (for shooting 1 of 7 from the field and 0 of 2 from the line against the Tigers) and Kelvin Robertson from the Crocs (for shooting 0 of 6 against the Dragons). The award however goes to funny-man Russell Hinder from the Crocs for his 1 of 7 from the field, 3 of 6 from the line and 6 turnovers in his return to Sydney. "That's what I do!"

Finally, our Shooter of the Week brought to you by Shooting Basketball Tips. There were a number of outstanding shooting performances this week:
* Peter Crawford (Perth) for his 29 points including 7 triples
* Shawn Redhage (Perth) for his 30 points, 8 of 10 from the field, 2 of 3 from downtown and 12 of 12 from downtown
* Ebi Ere (Melbourne) for his 28 points, 10 of 13 from the field, 8 of 10 from downtown
* Michael Cedar (Townsville) 27 points including 7 triples
The winner tho is James Harvey (pictured below) from the Gold Coast Blaze for leading his team to a very rare win against the Hawks with 37 points including 8 of 13 from downtown. He also had 23 points with 4 triples in their narrow loss to Adelaide.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Brandon Roy explodes for 52 points!

Brandon Roy went nuts tonight put on a basketball shooting display to lead his team (the Portland Trailblazers) to a 5 point win against the Phoenix Suns.

His line for the night was 52 points, 14 of 27 from the field, 5 of 7 from downtown, 19 of 21 from the line, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, ZERO turnovers.

Brandon has had a very good season so far averaging over 22 points per game but this was like a statement game/performance for him. He has arrived and you have been warned!!

Adam Ballinger - Shooter of the Month for November


Its a little later than I would've liked but here is our Shooter of the Month (for November). Click on the title below to read the full story and find out more about Adam Ballinger.

Adam Ballinger - Shooter of the Month for November

This may come as a surprise pick for those that know me and the type of players I like, but the Shooter of the Month for November goes to Adelaide’s Adam Ballinger. In 7 games he averaged 24 points shooting 51% from the field, including a red-hot 59% from downtown (16 of 27) and also averaged 8 boards.

I say it may come as a surprise pick because I love point guards, I love pure shooters and many would think of Ballinger as a strong rebounder and a banger inside. But, he has a very good shot for a bigman and when he’s doing the dirty work inside, he’s automatic from 15 or 18 feet, and don’t forget about his clip last month from downtown (above)!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Crosswhite named Player of the Week


I speculated that he would get an honourable mention in the voting but it seems the NBL have again gone for the sympathy vote again and given the Player of the Week to Cairns bigman Ian Crosswhite.

I'm not saying he wasn't deserved but the league did something similar the week it looked Sydney were going to collapse. I will say one thing tho ... Crosswhite shot just 4 of 10 from the free-throw line so it was far from the perfect game. But good on him for fighting through a tough week and giving it to the Blaze. Click on the title below for the full story.

NBL > News

Cairns centre Ian Crosswhite has taken out the National Basketball League Player of the Week Award for Round 13 after leading the under-manned Taipans to an overtime victory against the Gold Coast Blaze.

The 210cm big man registered 16 points and a game-high 17 rebounds while adding 2 assists in the Taipans’ 97-88 win at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Saturday night.

After a horror week where the Taipans were placed into voluntary administration and the team’s two import players, Dave Thomas and Larry Abney, were cut from the roster Crosswhite anchored the team after starting point guard Darnell Mee left the game in the opening quarter with a groin strain.

The win ended a 7-game skid for the Taipans, who improved to 7-12 but stayed in eighth position on the ladder. It was the second time this season that a Taipans player was named Player of the Week, after Mee was recognised in Round 4.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One Player, One Three-Pointer

The crew at Dime have been running a series of stories pondering if you could pick just one NBA player to get the job done for you who would it be. Earlier in the week it was one player to get you a rebound and then one player to get you a stop ... today they come in to my realm, one player to knock down a triple for you.

Not surprisingly they've gone with one of our favourites ... Ray Allen. Click on the title below to read the full story.

One Player, One Three-Pointer | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

By Austin Burton

Discounting Candace Parker and ignoring Rick Kamla’s disturbing overuse of the word “sexy,” few things in basketball inspire grown men to confidently throw around terms like “pretty” and “beautiful” more than a textbook jumper.

To that end, Ray Allen’s J is like Tyra Banks: No matter the circumstance, through thick and thin, even if slightly past her prime, she still looks good from any angle. As far as NBA players whose shot looks like it’s going in every single time they release it, only Michael Redd can compete with Ray (with young’uns Daniel Gibson and Eric Gordon knocking on the door).

But this isn’t about aesthetics and pretty pictures. While Ray’s shot mechanics are close to perfect and numbingly consistent, he’s my pick to knock down one three-pointer with everything on the line because he gets the job done. He’s second on the League’s all-time list for threes made behind Reggie Miller, about 700 treys up on his nearest active competitor (Peja). For his career Ray is a 39% shooter beyond the arc, 34th all-time, and the only active guy in the Top-50 with a championship ring and current or recently former status as the top option on his team.

Monday, December 15, 2008

NBL wrap - round 13

Getting in early this week, here are the numbers that matter from a small round in the NBL:

36ers 100 Crocs 79

For the 36ers:

Julius Hodge 25 points, 12 boards, 7 assists
Luke Schenscher 19 points (8 of 11 from the field), 12 boards
Adam Ballinger 20 points, 11 boards

For the Crocs:

Corey Williams 15 points, 5 assists, 4 boards
Russell Hinder 11 points, 7 boards

Just an ugly game for the Crocs shooting 36% from the field, 16% from downtown and 55% from the line. Solid numbers across the board from the Sixers with 5 players scoring 14 points or more. Adelaide also dominated the boards 66 - 46.

Wildcats 129 36ers 120 (in double OT)

For the Wildcats:

Shawn Redhage 23 points, 10 boards
Alex Loughton 23 points, 5 boards, 4 assists
Peter Crawford 20 points (including 4 triples), 5 boards

For the 36ers:

Julius Hodge 28 points, 8 boards, 3 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals
Adam Ballinger 26 points, 6 boards
Luke Schenscher 22 points, 11 boards, 4 assists

Adelaide would've had their chances to win this game but shot 20 of 29 from the line and Maher, Bruce and Holmes combined for just 13 of 39 from the field. Good team effort from Perth with 6 players scoring more than 15 points.

Taipans 97 Blaze 88 (in OT)

For the Taipans:

Ian Crosswhite 16 points, 17 boards
Gary Boodnikoff 17 points (including 4 triples), 5 boards
Martin Catallini 18 points, 5 boards

For the Blaze:

Luke Whitehead 17 points, 14 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals
James Harvey 20 points
Ben Melmeth 12 points, 13 boards

Congratulations to the Taipans for getting a win, on the road, with an under-strength team, despite everything going on with their franchise at the moment. Bowen, Heal, Whitehead and Melmeth combined to shoot just 13 of 53 (24.5%) from the field ... UGLY. Blaze also committed 26 turnovers (Heal had 9) to just 14 from Cairns.

Dragons 107 Tigers 98

For the Dragons:

Mark Worthington 24 points, 8 boards
Adam Gibson 12 points, 5 boards, 4 assists

For the Tigers:

Ebi Ere 21 points, 5 boards
Chris Anstey 14 points, 11 boards
David Barlow 16 points, 8 boards, 5 assists

Tigers won the battle of the boards (52 - 40) but the Dragons stormed home in the final quarter 38 - 19 to get the win. Dragons seem to have the Tigers measure of late and definitely have bragging rights in the Melbourne rivalry.

Crocs 104 Hawks 99

For the Crocs:

Corey Williams 23 points, 8 assists
Rosell Ellis 15 points, 8 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals

For the Hawks:

Dusty Rychart 17 points (7 of 9 from the field), 6 boards
Cameron Tragardh 16 points, 8 boards
Anthony Petrie 17 points, 6 boards

Hawks jumped the Crocs early (37 - 22) in the first quarter but credit to the Crocs for fighting back. To my boy John Rillie ... he needs to teach his teammates how to shoot a free-throw because Williams and Ellis combined for just 6 of 18 from the line! Hawks won the boards 50 - 35 but committed too many turnovers 22 - 11 (Saville had 7).

After round 13 in the NBL, the Dragons now have a 2 game lead on the Breakers (who have played 2 less games) in second place, the Tigers are in 3rd and the Crocs are currently 4th. The Blaze are still on the bottom with 3 wins and the Hawks are second last with 6 wins.

As I'm getting in early, I can again speculate about who will win the NBL's Player of the Week. My prediction is that Mark Worthington (24 points, 8 boards in a a win over the Tigers) and Ian Crosswhite (16 points, 17 boards in a win over the Blaze) will get honourable mentions while the winner will again be that man Julius Hodge from the 36ers. Hodge had 25 points, 12 boards, 7 assists in a win over the Crocs and 28 points, 8 boards in the double OT loss to the Wildcats.

Now to the Vlade Divac Flop of the Week. The runner-up is Rosell Ellis from the Crocs who went 5 of 14 from the line against Adelaide and then 3 of 7 against the Hawks. That's a combined 8 of 21 or just 38%. With Tovey, Ellis and Williams on the same team, are the Crocs the worst free-throw shooting team in the league?? The actual winner of the Flop of the Week tho is Justin Bowen from the Blaze who shot a woeful 1 of 11 from the field against the Taipans and committed 4 turnovers (with just 1 assist). Bowen had a good game last weekend but I held off giving him Shooter of the Week because I've seen him in action. He's been extremely inconsistent for the struggling Blaze and may be thankful we're this deep in to the season and it would be very hard to find a replacement.

Finally, our Shooter of the Week brought to you by Shooting Basketball Tips goes to Dragons youngster Nathan Herbert (pictured below) for his 15 points and 4 of 5 from downtown effort against the Tigers. I've noticed Nathan provide valuable scoring off the bench a number of times this season for the Dragons and those 4 triples (3 in the final quarter) were big against the cross-town rival Tigers. To find out more about Herbert, click here.


New Zealand Pair Sweep NBL Monthly Awards

Its just been announced that one of our favourites here, Kirk Penney has again taken out Player of the Month in the NBL. Kirk also won the previous month's award but is this time joined by his Breaker's coach Andrej Lemanis who won Coach of the Month.

As I'm still on the NBL's media list, I was able to vote. Surprisingly, I didn't actually vote for Kirk ... here is who I gave the points to:

3 votes: Ballinger (Adelaide)
2 votes: Anstey (Tigers)
1 vote: Matthew Knight (Sydney)

And for the coaches:

3 votes: Lemanis (NZ)
2 votes: Beveridge (Sydney)
1 vote: Goorjian (Dragons)

Click on the title below to read the full story about why the Kiwis won and who else received votes. I'm SHOCKED to see that I was the only one that gave any points to Anstey. His fg% wasn't great but the rest of his numbers were stellar ... I guess the rest of the league takes his numbers for granted.

NBL > News

New Zealand Pair Sweep NBL Monthly Awards

New Zealand Breakers shooting star Kirk Penney has won his second consecutive National Basketball League (NBL) Player of the Month award, while Breakers mentor Andrej Lemanis has taken out the Coach of the Month honour for November.

In seven games for the month of November, Penney averaged 20.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. The former NBA player shot the ball at 42% from the field and 42% from three-point range, while connecting on 78% of his free-throw attempts.

Most importantly, Penney led his team to a league-best 6-1 record for the month as the Breakers established themselves as a legitimate title contender in the NBL. Penney has also firmly established himself as an early favourite to take out the Andrew Gaze Trophy for the NBL’s Most Valuable Player at the end of the season.

Penney polled a total of 48 votes to take out the award from Sydney Spirit big man Matt Knight on 39. Adelaide duo Adam Ballinger (38) and Julius Hodge (33) finished third and fourth respectively. In all 14 players received votes for the November award.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Learning to shoot a basketball

Here's an article I wrote applying the way we learn, to the art of shooting a basketball.

Learning to shoot a basketball

When people ask 'how do I learn to shoot a basketball?', most of the time people tell them to just get out and practice. Grab a ball, find a hoop and just shoot ... you'll get better.

I tend to disagree with this statement. Sure, practice and repitition is important, but its just one part of the equation. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Learn the right way to shoot, the best basketball shooting drills to work on and you'll become a great shooter much quicker.

We basically learn to do anything in 3 ways: by listening/asking, by watching or by doing. So applying these 3 ways of learning to the art of shooting a basketball you get:

1. Listening ... talk to other players, ask coaches

2. Watching ... watch people playing and shooting, watch games of professional players, watch instructional videos, get someone to video you shooting so you can see your own shot (and you can see what you're doing right and wrong)

3. Doing ... practice shooting, repitition, playing

So if you really want to improve your basketball shot, don't just learn by doing ... seek out people for advice and when you're not on the court, watch great shooters and learn from them. As well as just practicing your shot, use the others way of learning (and some of the suggestions above) and you'll find your shooting will improve much quicker.

Wishing you nothing but net,

Dodge Taylor

Thursday, December 11, 2008

‘Melo puts on a shooting display!

Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets has had what can only be described as a slow start to the season. Sure, he's jumping on the boards but his shooting (roughly 40% from the field) has been disappointing to say the least.

I own him in my fantasy league so I was disappointed to see him get off to another slow start today going 3 of 9 in the first half. That all changed in the 3rd quarter tho as he went NUTS! I was watching the play-by-play and saw this section below:

1:38 MIN - R. Foye makes a 24-foot three-pointer from the left corner. Assist: A. Jefferson
1:57 DEN - C. Anthony makes a 22-foot jumper from the right wing. Assist: N. Hilario
2:12 MIN - A. Jefferson makes a 15-foot turnaround jumper along the left baseline. Assist: R. McCants
2:29 DEN - C. Anthony makes a 12-foot turnaround jumper from the right wing
2:51 MIN - R. Foye makes a 25-foot three-pointer from the left wing. Assist: A. Jefferson
3:09 DEN - C. Anthony makes a 24-foot three-pointer from the right wing. Assist: A. Carter
3:19 MIN - A. Jefferson makes a 6-foot jump hook shot in the lane. Assist: K. Ollie
3:35 DEN - C. Anthony makes a 16-foot jumper from the right wing. Assist: C. Billups

It was then I realised that he had 33 points in the quarter!! Here's what the crew at Dime had to say about the performance (click on the title below to read the full story).

‘Melo Drops 33 In The Third Quarter | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

Entering tonight’s game, Carmelo Anthony’s season high was 30 points. Tonight, he scored 33 in the third quarter.

Check out the stat line: 12-15 from the field, 4-5 from behind the arc and 5-6 from the line in the period. At one point ‘Melo was NBA Jam hot making eight straight shots and scoring 24 straight points for the Nuggets. He finished the game with 45, just four shy of his career high.

Anthony tied the NBA record for points in a quarter, set by San Antonio’s George Gervin and broke David Thompson’s Nuggets team record of 32. Amazingly, both records were set on April 9, 1978.


NBL wrap - round 12

Better late than never, here are the number that matter from round 12 in the NBL:

Dragons 112 Hawks 78

For the Dragons:

Joe Ingles 23 points (including 5 triples), 6 boards 4 steals
Mark Worthington 20 points, 4 boards, 5 turnovers
Adam Gibson 12 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals

For the Hawks:

Cameron Tragardh 21 points
Dusty Rychart 16 points, 9 boards

The game was never close ... Dragons dominated from the get-go. Nice to see Gibbo now consistently putting up solid numbers for the Dragons.

Crocs 104 Breakers 88

For the Crocs:

John Rillie 18 points (including 4 triples), 5 boards
Brad Williamson 18 points (including 4 triples), 4 boards
Rosell Ellis 14 points, 12 boards

For the Breakers:

Kirk Penney 26 points, 7 boards
Oscar Forman 16 points (including 4 triples), 4 boards
Rick Rickert 13 points, 11 boards

The hot-shooting Breakers shot just 33% from the field and were always going to find it hard to win when CJ shot 1 of 10 and Phull Jones was 1 of 9 from the field. Crocs shot a very nice 13 of 25 from downtown (Breakers were just 5 of 25).

Spirit 92 Taipans 78

For the Spirit:

Matthew Knight 25 points, 13 boards
David Gruber 20 points, 11 boards

For the Taipans:

Larry Abney 19 points, 7 boards
Martin Cattalini 12 points, 6 boards, 4 steals

The match-up of two teams on the brink. Matthew Knight has had a massive last few weeks. David Gruber is really stepping up without Low and Khazzouh in the line-up. For the Taipans ... not much to say after the events of this week, its not pretty.

36ers 102 Tigers 94

For the 36ers:

Luke Schenscher 17 points, 22 boards
Julius Hodge 21 points, 8 assists, 4 boards
Brad Hill 19 points, 6 boards

For the Tigers:

Chris Anstey 23 points, 5 boards
Rod Gizzard 18 points, 7 boards
David Barlow 16 points, 5 assists

With Hodge in the line-up, the Sixers are starting to roll. Tigers looking much more human than everyone thought at the start of the season. Adelaide dominated the boards 51 - 37.

Crocs 92 Spirit 87

For the Crocs:

Rosell Ellis 18 points, 10 boards
Brad Williamson 17 points, 5 boards
Corey Williams 5 points, 12 assists, 6 boards

For the Spirit:

David Gruber 18 points (9 of 12 from the field), 10 boards
Matthew Knight 15 points, 10 boards

The Spirit made a run in the second half (55 - 43) but it was too little too late. They committed 23 turnovers (Crocs 16) and shot just 2 of 17 from downtown.

Dragons 101 Hawks 83

For the Dragons:

Mark Worthington 19 points, 10 boards, 7 assists
Mika Vukona 10 points, 12 boards
Joe Ingles 14 points, 8 assists

For the Hawks:

Glen Saville 20 points, 12 boards but 6 turnovers
Lindsay Tait 11 points, 5 boards, 5 steals

Dragons dominated the second half 56 - 35 and the boards 49 - 33. Dragons had 7 players score in double figures.

Blaze 129 Wildcats 97

For the Blaze:

Justin Bowen 35 points (12 of 17 from the field), 5 boards
Luke Whitehead 24 points, 9 boards
Ben Melmeth 17 points, 8 boards

For the Wildcats:

Shawn Redhage 21 points, 13 boards
Alex Loughton 20 points (8 of 11 from the field)
Isiah Victor 11 points, 8 boards

Yes, you read that score right ... Blaze KILLED them. Blaze outscored the Cats 45 - 17 in the 3rd term. Wildcats lost the boards (39 - 52) and the turnovers (25 - 18).

After round 12 in the NBL, the Dragons are back on top with 14 wins just ahead of the Breakers on 13. Tigers, Crocs and Wildcats are all on 9 wins. Blaze are still on the bottom but now have 3 wins, Cairns and Hawks are ahead of them on 6.

Player of the Week went to Justin Bowen of the Gold Coast Blaze for his performance against the Wildcats. His stat line was 35 points, 12 of 17 shooting, 3 of 4 from downtown, 8 of 8 from the line, 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 2 turnovers. Impressive game!

Now to the Vlade Divac Flop of the Week. The award could go to the Hawks team for losing their games by 35 and 18 points respectively but instead they are the runners up. The award this week goes to two NZ Breakers ... Phull Jones and CJ Bruton for their combined 2 of 19 "shooting performance" against the Crocs ... even Paul Henare managed to shoot 2 of 5 in that game!

Finally, our Shooter of the Week brought to you by Shooting Basketball Tips was a tough one this round. Honourable mentions go to Joe Ingles for his 5 triples against the Hawks and Brad Hill from Adelaide for his 8 of 11 shooting off the bench against the Tigers. Justin Bowen, Player of the Week is unlucky not to get the nod but I know from watching him ... he's not a shooter. This week the award goes to much-improved Spirit import, David Gruber (pictured below). Now, I haven't seen him play but I think he's a hard-working banger rather than a shooter ... but his clips this round were outstanding, 9 of 14 against Cairns and 9 of 12 against the Crocs.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The HORSE game continues

In a recent blog post, John Rillie returns serve to rookie/up-start Aaron Bruce in the HORSE challenge, click on the title below to read the story and see his latest shot. If you missed his matching of the original half-court shot, click here

With things slowing down at my other work, I might try and get myself in to this game!

JR, On Fire

H-O-R-S-E with Bruce

For those that do not know, Adelaide 36ers rookie guard has challenged me to a game of H-O-R-S-E via YouTube.

Bruce kicked off the challenge with a regulation half court shot. Nice one, but who really knows how many times it took him to make it. Well done young fella, golf clap for that effort.

I just so happened to match his shot in front of a few hundred kids. One take wonder I guess you could say.

So back to you Mr Bruce as this is my return of serve (below) to your rather weak half court shot. I like the big stage so I decided I would create mine in a game situation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ray Allen lights up

He might not light up the court quite as often as he did when he was the man in Seattle but as part of the defending champion Boston Celtics, Ray Allen can still catch fire at any moment.

With his silky-smoothe shot, Ray was one of the first shooters we thought of when compiling our Top Ten and yesterday he showed just how dangerous he can be. Ray had 35 points on 13 of 21 from the field including 7 of 12 from downtown. If you want to learn how to shoot a basketball, you would be wise to watch Ray Allen shoot.

Sugar High | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

With an 11-game win streak on the line, if there was ever a sub.-500 team Boston wanted no parts of last night, it was Indiana. Having already beat the Celtics once at home, Indy was confident throughout this one, even when they fell into a double-digit hole in the first quarter and came back to grab the lead at halftime on Marquis Daniels‘ halfcourt shot. It was shot-for-shot, stop-for-stop for most of the second half and overtime, but in the end, the Pacers couldn’t make shots (multiple air-balls in the fourth) or get key rebounds when they had to, plus they couldn’t stop Ray Allen. Dropping 35 points on seven triples, Ray took over in crunch time, hitting whatever game-tying, go-ahead or dagger shots the Celtics needed. As Indiana play-by-play guy Chris Denari put it, “You feel like there’s a magnet in the net when Ray Allen is shooting.”

Monday, December 8, 2008

Congrats JR

It would be remiss of me not to give a big shout-out to John Rillie on a week of milestones for him. On Thursday night he played his 450th game in the NBL and if that wasn't enough on Saturday he became the first player in NBL history to play 350 straight games. Great to see JR's team-mates come to the party and help him celebrate the milestones with 2 wins. To read the full story, click on the title below.

In other news around the NBL, it was great to see Andrew Bogut do his bit to help out the struggling Sydney Spirit, despite (Bogut) having never played a game in the NBL. To read more about it and his future plans, click here.

Praise for Townsville Crocodiles' resilient floor leader John Rillie | Townsville Bulletin Sport

By Antony Stewart

He's sustained fractured toes, dislocated fingers and ruptured bursas, but nothing has been able to stop John Rillie from becoming the most enduring player in NBL history.

Tonight when he runs out for the Crocodiles at The Swamp, the sharp-shooting guard will mark his 350th consecutive game – the only player in history to achieve the feat.

Rival coaches and players alike have done their best to swat him, but like a pesky fly buzzing around your head, Rillie keeps coming back for more. For 15 seasons the 37-year-old has defied the odds, turning up night in, night out across four NBL clubs, often playing through the pain, to keep his amazing streak going.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fantasy basketball update

I mentioned last month that the stand-out pick on my fantasy basketball team was Devin Harris, it seems that the crew at Dime agree with me (see article below).

From a fantasy GM's perspective, its nice to see two of my other guys mentioned in their "most improved" discussions. Danny Granger who is my top-ranked player and a strong performer of late, Troy Murphy.

Steve Nash has picked up his game of late but has also had to sit out a few games in the last week with nagging injuries. Horford is coming on strong and Turkoglu is finding some form as well. I picked up Joel Przybilla off the free-agent list and he's been quietly very good in the minutes he's been getting behind Oden.

The NBA’s Most Improved Player | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

Is there anyone in the League even close to challenging Devin Harris for Most Improved? Check out his hit list this season: Just 14 games into this season he’s given Phoenix 47, the Jazz 34, Toronto 30, Atlanta 30 and 33, and Detroit 38 - all in the month of November.

Devin’s 24.8 ppg dwarfs his previous best of 15.4 ppg last season, and he’s still dishing out more than six assists per game and coming up with more than a steal per game. His explosion this season already has the Nets saying he’s untouchable.

The only guy we think you can make a real argument for ahead of Harris is Danny Granger, who is absolutely killing it as well. His 24.7 ppg crushes his career average of 14.4 ppg.

Other candidates: Ronnie Brewer, Paul Millsap, Spencer Hawes, Troy Murphy, Thad Young.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Spirit to survive

Here's a media release I just received from the NBL. Good to see that the Spirit are going to survive until the end of the season. The team is doing well oncourt and it would've been sad to see them go already.

SPIRIT SET TO SEE OUT NBL SEASON

The Sydney Spirit National Basketball League (NBL) team has been saved, with players and coaching staff from the club voting overnight to accept an adjusted rescue package offered by the League.

The League met with the team on Tuesday morning to confirm their individual financial situations and subsequently adjusted the proposed salary component of the rescue package accordingly.

Interim Chief Executive Officer of Basketball Scott Derwin said the decision by the players to accept the rescue package meant that the Spirit would now complete the 2008/09 season.

“Sydney sports fans are now assured the Spirit will play out the current NBL season, with the players and coaching staff courageously agreeing as a group to play on despite it being necessary for them to take significant pay cuts,” said Derwin. “They really are playing for the love of the game and have accepted the absolute bare minimum salary to cover their families’ living expenses. We are glad that we have managed to find a way for the Spirit to continue in the League, given their outlook just over a week ago was very bleak.”

“The issues facing the Spirit have been truly unique and therefore called for a unique solution,” Derwin added. “The League funding the on-going operations of a team in financial trouble is highly unusual, but we believe it was absolutely necessary in this case and we are pleased that the Spirit will now see out the season.”

Derwin said that gate receipts from all remaining Spirit home games will continue to go towards paying the players and coaching staff for their outstanding contractual salaries owed over and above those covered in the rescue package.

“We have made the commitment that, once basic operational costs are covered, all additional profits will be funnelled back to try to make up for what the players and coaching staff are owed under their contracts with the club. That means that by Sydney fans buying a ticket to a Spirit game, they are directly helping the players, coaches and their families through what has been a tremendously stressful period.”

Sydney next travel to Cairns on Thursday to prepare for their clash against the Taipans this Friday night. The Spirit’s next home game will be against the Townsville Crocodiles on Sunday 21 December at the Sydney Olympic Park Entertainment Centre. Tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for children (13 and under and $25 for families and are available through Ticketek (
www.ticketek.com.au).


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kirk Penney to the NBA??

Despite our boy Kirk Penney showing he was in fact human this weekend (averaging just 7 points in their 2 games) I came across this post below on the NBL website about how he is ready for the NBA ... again. I am a MASSIVE fan of Penney but think its a little too early to be calling for his return to the big show. Click on the title below to read the rest of the story.

NBL > News

Penney should be in the NBA
By Joel Tiller, Sportal

First CJ Bruton confirmed it, then Brian Goorjian said it was realistic, but perhaps not wise, and (wistfully) Conner Henry said he wished it was true: 'Kirk Penney should be playing in the NBA'.

The New Zealand Breakers shooting guard has been scorching form in his second NBL season.

Arguably the most important cog in the NBL table-topping team no one can argue with his stats, and status, as the leading point scorer in the league (for the last month). He averages a league high 24 points per game, just point two below his scoring average for the whole season last year.

The NBL's third highest three point shooter last season he's currently twelfth for three point shooting percentages (39 per cent, 48/123) and is the second most deadly free throw marksman in the league with his 85.1 per cent (74/87) placing him just behind teammate Bruton (90.7 per cent). Just for good measure he's not selfish either, throwing 3.1 assists per game at 19th in the league.


NBL Player of the week

Thanks to my early NBL wrap yesterday, I had a chance to make my prediction for Player of the Week but boy was I wrong ... apparently. Matthew Knight (pictured below) gets the official nod and Phull Jones (see yesterday's report as to why he is now Phull) wasn't even in the top 4 or 5 possibilities. First Goorjian's Dragons go easy on the troubled Sydney Spirit and now the head office does the same.

Obviously the NBL don't place the same importance on a player's team winning as much as John Rillie and perhaps I do. Sure, Knight had a good game and definitely should be in contention but runner-up Anstey went 1 win out of 2 on the weekend (and shot less than 40% from the field), Heal did play well in the first half against the Breakers but his team got DONE and Ebi also only won 1 of 2.

Phull's team on the other hand won both their games, went to top of the league ladder and he shot the lights out in both matches. Sorry Phull, the league must be tired of the award heading over the ditch this season.

NBL > News

Knight named Round 11's best

The National Basketball League has named Sydney Spirit star forward Matthew Knight as Player of the Week for Round 11 after leading his in team to a stunning upset victory against the South Dragons.

Knight and his Spirit teammates put a week of off-court turmoil behind them to score a thrilling 104-93 win over the previously top-of-the-table Dragons. Knight scored a double-double with a career high 27 points and eleven rebounds, as well as dishing off two assists at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre on Friday night.

The Tasmanian was the leading scorer in the game, making 83% of his free throws (5-of-6) and 61% of his overall shots from the field (11-of-18) despite suffering an ankle injury. Knight becomes the first Spirit to win the Player of the Week award this season.

Melbourne Tigers behemoth Chris Anstey was narrowly edged for the NBL’s weekly honour by Knight. Anstey averaged 20.0 points, 15.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and one steal in two games against the Townsville Crocodiles and the Perth Wildcats for the week.

Another leading contender for Player of the Week was Gold Coast Blaze’s Shane Heal, who scored 27 points as well as having five rebounds, and five assists against the New Zealand Breakers.

Others in consideration for Player of the Week included Ebi Ere (Melbourne), Phill Jones (New Zealand), Oscar Forman (New Zealand), Adam Ballinger (Adelaide), Brett Maher (Adelaide), Julius Hodge (Adelaide), Cameron Tragardh (Wollongong), Isiah Victor (Perth), Martin Cattalini (Cairns), Corey Williams (Townsville), Rosell Ellis (Townsville) and John Rillie (Townsville).


Monday, December 1, 2008

Members-Only section LIVE!

It has taken WAY too long but finally the Members-Only Workshop of the Shooting Basketball Tips website is live! Click here to check out the front page or see the screen-shot below.

In the Workshop you'll find everything you need to know about how to shoot a basketball properly and exactly what you need to do to become a better player. You'll gain access to basketball shooting drills, techniques and tips directly from professional players. You'll see them in action talking and walking you through drills that have been proven over and over to be some of the very best ways to improve your basketball shot.

As the site has just gone live and we only have the first player's videos online so far, I'm offering a ridiculously good opening special of just $9.95. As we add more and more player's videos to the site the price will go up, so get in early. To sign-up now or to find out more, click here.


NBL wrap - round 11

A big week in the NBL with 8 games (after only 6 last week), here are the numbers that matter:

Crocs 113 Tigers 105 (in OT)

For the Crocs:

Michael Cedar 27 points (9 of 14 from the field, including 7 triples), 7 boards
John Rillie 24 points (including 6 triples), 5 boards
Rosell Ellis 22 points, 11 boards

For the Tigers:

Ebi Ere 31 points (including 5 triples)
Chris Anstey 19 points, 16 boards
Rod Gizzard 19 points, 9 boards

This would've been a great game to see. Ebi Ere hitting a triple to push the game in to overtime. Michael Cedar exploding offensively as we said he would and JR coming off the bench and shooting the lights out. Somehow the Crocs managed to keep up with the Tigers on the boards (52 - 52). The Crocs could've ended it in regulation but shot just 10 of 21 from the free-throw line.

Dragons 102 Taipans 64

For the Dragons:

Matt Burston 19 points (9 of 10 from the field), 8 boards
Nick Horvath 12 points, 11 boards
Joe Ingles 12 points, 7 assists ... 6 turnovers

For the Taipans:

Martin Cattalini 17 points
Larry Abney 15 points, 8 boards

No Dave Thomas (he went down injured after 7 mins), no chance. If this was a boxing match they would've let Alan Black throw in the towel, unfortunately it was not. Dragons shot 57% from the field, Taipans shot 29%.

Breakers 108 Wildcats 94

For the Breakers:

CJ Bruton 22 points, 7 assists
Phill Jones 22 points (including 5 triples)
Rick Rickert 17 points, 13 boards

For the Wildcats:

Isiah Victor 25 points
Darnell Hinson 18 points, 4 assists
Ben Knight 15 points, 6 boards

Breakers dominated the second half (61 - 39) to come from behind to win this game. NZ controlled the boards 51 - 36 and the two teams combined for a red-hot 25 of 49 from downtown. Kirk Penney and Shawn Redhage showed they are human, both superstars scoring less than 10 points each.

Tigers 108 Wildcats 95

For the Tigers:

Chris Anstey 21 points, 15 boards, 4 assists
Ebi Ere 23 points
Stephen Hoare 22 points, 5 boards

For the Wildcats:

Isiah Victor 20 points, 5 boards
Peter Crawford 17 points (including 4 triples), 4 assists
Shawn Redhage 12 points, 6 assists

Very balanced team effort from the Tigers with 6 of their 8 man rotation scoring in double figures. Foul count and free-throws both went considerably in the Tigers favour. Shawn Redhage controlled again, Wildcats lose again ... you do the math.

36ers 101 Hawks 96

For the 36ers:

Adam Ballinger 26 points, 8 boards
Brett Maher 21 points (including 5 triples), 6 boards
Julius Hodge 19 points, 11 boards, 6 assists
Luke Schenscher 18 points, 10 boards

For the Hawks:

Cameron Tragardh 23 points (11 of 15 from the field), 5 boards
Larry Davidson 13 points, 7 boards
Glen Saville 16 points, 10 boards

Close game throughout. Hawks shot just 3 of 21 from the field and 13 of 23 from the line. Adelaide's big 4 all fired, except for Hodge from the field (just 8 of 26 shooting). Aaron Bruce ... MIA.

Crocs 94 Taipans 90

For the Crocs:

Corey Williams 24 points, 8 assists, 4 boards, 3 steals
Rosell Ellis 14 points, 10 boards
John Rillie 16 points (14 in the final quarter)

For the Taipans:

Martin Cattalini 25 points, 8 boards
Ian Crosswhite 17 points, 9 boards, 4 assists, 3 blocks
Gary Boodnikoff 16 points, 5 boards

Townsville got off to a slow start (18 - 26) but stormed home in the final quarter behind 14 from JR to get the win. Without Dave Thomas it shouldn't have been this close but Ian Crosswhite stepped in and filled DT's shoes. Brad Williamson seems to be struggling to find form since getting promoted to the starting line-up for the Crocs.

Spirit 103 Dragons 94

For the Spirit:

Matthew Knight 27 points, 11 boards
Luke Martin 13 points, 5 assists
Drew Williamson 12 points, 5 boards

For the Dragons:

Adam Gibson 15 points, 10 boards, 6 assists
Matt Burston 17 points, 9 boards
Mark Worthington 15 points, 7 boards

How the Spirit win without Low or Khazzouh ... I don't know?! Who said Goorjian doesn't have a heart?? Gibbo with his best game this season but the Dragons shoot just 19 of 37 from the free-throw line thanks to 2 of 10 from Mika Vukona. In a game that almost didn't go ahead, the Spirit had a season high 2572 fans in attendance.

Breakers 110 Blaze 88

For the Breakers:

Tony Ronaldson 25 points, 5 assists
Phill Jones 23 points (including 7 triples)
Oscar Forman 15 points, 9 boards

For the Blaze:

Shane Heal 27 points, 5 boards, 5 assists
Justin Bowen 17 points, 8 boards ... 6 turnovers
Daniel Joyce 16 points

Shane Heal and Ronaldson were on fire early and the teams were tied at the end of the first quarter. From there it was all down-hill for the Blaze. The Breakers didn't even play well but they still won this EASILY.

After round 11 in the NBL, the Breakers are now on top of the league one win ahead of the Dragons (thanks to their sympathetic loss to the Spirit). Tigers move in to third and after 2 straight losses the Wildcats are in 4th. The Blaze are still at the bottom with just 2 wins and the Taipans have now lost 6 in a row to be second last.

I'm in early this week so the NBL's Player of the Week is yet to officially be announced. My pick goes to Phill Jones ... see below for more details.

Now to the Vlade Divac Flop of the week. Runner-up should go to Mika Vukona for his 2 of 10 shooting from the free-throw line against the Spirit. Mika is all-hussle and has never been known for his shooting but 2 of 10?? But the Flop of the week goes to that man Cameron Tovey from the Crocs ... AGAIN. In his game against the Tigers he shot 2 of 10 from the field and 0 of 2 from the line and then followed that up with 1 of 8 from the field and 1 of 6 from the line against the Taipans. Trevor Gleeson, its time to send the kid back to the bench!

Before we get to our Shooter of the Week ... a few honourable mentions must go to a pair of Crocodiles. Michael Cedar for his individual explosion against the Tigers and John "Don't call it a comeback!" Rillie for both his games on the weekend, especially the clutch/game-winning 4th quarter shooting against the Taipans. But this week's winner is none other than Phill (from now on to be referred to as Phull, thanks to JVG and Nick) Jones from the Breakers. In his team's two wins he averaged 22.5 points and 6 triples and shot over 50% from the field with ZERO turnovers!


Breakers vs Blaze

On Saturday night I went down the coast to see my first live NBL game this season. Its so different not having the Brisbane Bullets in the league this season.

I officially jumped on the Croc's bandwagon at the start of the season but the Breakers would definitely be my 2nd favourite team. As my friend and I joked before heading down the coast, you go to a Blaze game to see the opposition, not the home team. The official crowd is listed as 2500 ... my guess would have been closer to 1500.

Other than Tony Ronaldson early and a hot-streak from Phull Jones (below), the Breakers didn't actually play that well but still won easily. Our man Kirk Penney couldn't hit a jumper, nor could CJ Bruton ... but the Blaze are bad ... very bad. Both imports for the Blaze stuffed their stats late in the game when the result had long been decided. Justin Bowen is under the mistaken impression he has a jumper/outside shot ... he does not.

I took the video camera with me to try and get some footage to post but there really wasn't anything happening to make it worthwhile. Click on the title below to read the rest of the official game report.

NBL > Match Report

The New Zealand Breakers have crushed the Gold Coast Blaze 110-88 in their Round 11 clash at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Saturday night.

On the back of a vintage display from Tony Ronaldson and some hot shooting from Phill Jones and Oscar Forman the Breakers were able to make the home side look second class.

Ronaldson opened the game up by dominating the post early and finished up nailing threes from all around to tally 25 points.

Jones (7-of-11) was on fire from the beginning and Forman (4-of-7) got his eye in late to bury the Blaze under a barrage of triples.


Friday, November 28, 2008

NBA photos

Over the last couple of days of searching for different NBA photos, I stumbled across the following amusing/unfortunately timed photos ... feel free to leave comments below!








Free-throw shooting

Thanks to Dime pointing out that Jose Calderon is on a bit of a hot streak at the free-throw line at the moment shooting a perfect 40 of 40 this season, I came across this article below. Its a good read about Michael Williams the current holder of the longest free-throw streak in the NBA and has some interesting points about free-throw shooting in general. Click on the title below to read the full story.

Eluding Calvin's curse - Flashback: Micheal Williams' Streak | Basketball Digest | Find Articles at BNET

THE EMPHASIS IN THE TERM 'free throw' should be on the word 'free.' When you step up to the line, there are no hands in your face, no double-teams, no jumpers heaved while falling out of bounds. Nothing separates a player from one point but 15 feet of air."

So it's pretty ironic that the average NBA player couldn't make a foul shot if his sneaker contract depended on it. Players have tried everything in pursuit of making basketball's easiest shot: Shooting underhand or overhand, lining up on the left or right side of the foul line, bouncing the ball incessantly--even talking to the ball. Shaquille O'Neal, the stiff, disjointed Frankenstein monster of free-throw shooters, the man who puts "foul" in the term "foul shot," has gotten hundreds of letters suggesting he try yoga or acupuncture or transcendental meditation to solve his charity-stripe woes.

For 12 years, the NBA record for most consecutive free throws was held by Houston Rockets mighty mite Calvin Murphy, who became the guardian of the record, often gleefully cackling whenever a player got close but fell short

In April 1993, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mark Price came one free throw short of tying Murphy's mark of 78 in a row. After the miss, someone asked Murphy if Price choked. "I don't want to use that word," Murphy said, "but the shot speaks for itself. I can't believe it missed that badly."

Murphy's sigh of relief was short-lived. Out of nowhere came Micheal Williams, a guard for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Everyone had been so focused on Price's streak that they didn't really notice that Williams was right behind Price.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Will the Sydney Spirit survive?

I received an e-mail yesterday announcing that the Spirit may not survive to the end of the season. When you're getting "crowds" of under 1000 to your home game, you're always going to struggle. What's disappointing is that on-court the team has done quite well (all things considered). They're in the top 6, they've just got Jason Smith back on court and Julian Khazzouh (pictured below) is having a break-out season. Click on the title below to read the full story and I'll keep you updated as I hear more.

NBL > News

Interim Chief Executive Officer of Basketball Scott Derwin has issued the following statement regarding the Sydney Spirit National Basketball League team:

“The League office was informed by Sydney Spirit owner Greg Evans on Saturday that the team was in a perilous financial position and has indicated that he was planning to put the team into administration,” said Derwin.

“We have since been seeking urgent talks with Evans to ascertain what, if anything, can be done either to help him maintain the team in the NBL for the remainder of the season, or to find a buyer for the Spirit’s license who could continue the club’s on-going operations.”


(I'm not sure what sort of defence Ballinger was employing here, it obviously didn't work)


LeBron mania

With LeBron James coming to New York today to play the Knicks things are going a little nuts. Nike are pushing for LBJ to sign with the Knicks in 2010 once his contract expires with the Cavs. According to the crew at Dime, there have been publicity stunts happening around the city and at MSG prior to tip-off.

One of my mates is actually in NY for the game and with a 1/2 strength Knicks line-up (due to a recent trade) playing against the Cavs, it's getting ugly early. The score is Cavs 67 Knicks 36 at the half and here is a text from Eto who is at the game:
"Knicks fans LIVID! Heard a few 'we want Steph' chants. Cavs are FAR too good"

Click on the title below to read about the Nike pre-game hype.

LeBron-Mania | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

I don’t know that it would be this crazy if Barack Obama were coming to Madison Square Garden. Outside MSG, the free hot dog stands have lines running around the block, and there has been at least one homeless dude announcing to everyone that the hot dogs are “Courtesy of LeBron.” The same guy happens to be holding a sign that reads, “Need money to get drunk so that women can take me home and molest me.”

If that isn’t crazy enough, listen to this. Seriously, hundreds of people wearing red “Witness” shirts flooded the block right in front of the entrance to the Garden, and stopped dead in their tracks, freezing in place for exactly 1:23 (didn’t know that ’til after we talked to one of ‘em), and then threw a handful of red confetti in the air just as if they were LeBron clapping baby powder into the air.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NBL wrap - round 10

Only 6 games on tap over the last week in the NBL, here are the numbers that matter:

Tigers 99 Taipans 98

For the Tigers:

Ebi Ere 22 points, 5 boards
Chris Anstey 17 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks
Sam Mackinnon 10 points, 7 boards, 7 assists

For the Taipans:

Dave Thomas 20 points, 8 boards, 4 assists
Martin Cattalini 18 points, 5 boards
Larry Abney 20 points

The Tigers only beat the Taipans by one point?! The Snakes must have played out of their skins (pun only partially intended). Dave Thomas with a beat of old-team rule production. Tigers dominated the boards 49 - 32 but the Taipans were a very efficient 18 of 21 from the free-throw line.

Breakers 112 Dragons 98

For the Breakers:

Kirk Penney 27 points (including 6 triples)
CJ Bruton 20 points (6 of 8 from the field, 5 of 5 from the line), 6 assists, 4 boards, 3 steals
Oscar Forman 12 points, 13 boards

For the Dragons:

Adam Gibson 16 points (including 4 triples), 3 assists
Matt Burston 14 points, 4 boards
Joe Ingles 16 points, 4 assists

The "blockbuster" didn't pan out as such as the Breakers just outplayed the Dragons. All of the Breaker's players put up good numbers while Worthington, Groves and Darden were well contained. In a very efficient game there were only 15 turnovers between the two teams.

Spirit 110 36ers 108

For the Spirit:

Derrick Low 24 points (including 5 triples) but 7 turnovers
Matthew Knight 19 points, 11 boards
Julian Khazzouh 12 points, 16 boards, 2 blocks, 2 steals

For the 36ers:

Julius Hodge 26 points, 13 boards, 4 assists
Adam Ballinger 29 points, 3 assists
Luke Schenscher 16 points, 17 boards, 4 assists, 4 blocks

The Sixers got off to a great start but the Spirit came from behind 59 - 45 in the second half to get the win. Looking at the numbers this would have been an entertaining game to watch. There was even a David Gruber sighting as he had 19 points, 7 boards (possibly his most productive game so far). Julius Hodge seems to LOVE playing for the Sixers and was outstanding in his first game back this season. With Hodge back, Jacob Holmes returns to the bench where he belongs.

Dragons 106 36ers 100

For the Dragons:

Joe Ingles 27 points (including 5 triples), 4 assists
Adam Gibson 15 points, 4 boards, 3 assists
Mark Worthington 14 points, 12 boards

For the 36ers:

Julius Hodge 27 points, 8 boards, 8 assists
Adam Ballinger 29 points, 7 boards

The Dragons bounced back well after losing to the Breakers. Hodge does what he does ... dominates. Herbert explodes off the bench for the Dragons with 21 points while Matt Burston and Luke Schenscher looked to have nullified each other.

Crocodiles 121 Hawks 113

For the Crocs:

Corey Williams 25 points, 5 assists
Rosell Ellis 14 points, 7 assists, 6 boards, 3 steals
Daniel Egan 21 points (9 of 11 from the field), 7 boards

For the Hawks:

Glen Saville 28 points, 6 boards, 4 assists
Cameron Tragardh 14 points, 7 boards
Kavossy Franklin 15 points, 4 boards

The game was a shootout from downtown with the teams combining for an impressive 25 of 54 from deep. The controversial benching of JR, Homicide and Hinder looks to have had the desired result with the Crocs flying out of the gates in the first quarter. Tovey seems to have loved the opportunity to start putting up 20 points on a good clip.

Wildcats 101 Taipans 85

For the Wildcats:

Shawn Redhage 22 points (8 of 10 from the field), 6 boards
Isiah Victor 18 points, 11 boards
Ben Knight 9 points, 13 boards

For the Taipans:

Larry Abney 20 points, 10 boards
Martin Cattalini 12 points, 10 boards

Redhage back to his efficient best. Perth controlled the game and one every quarter. Perth are quietly going about their business and putting together a solid season. They're definitely in the top 4 teams for mine.

At the end of round 10, despite losing to the Breakers, the Dragons are still on top of the NBL ladder albeit just on percentage now. The Breakers are just 3.5% points behind in second with the Tigers in 3rd. The Blaze are still last with 2 wins and the Sixers are now 2nd last with 5 wins 9 losses.

Not surprisingly, in news today Julius Hodge was named Player of the Week for his outstanding 2 games in his return to the league. The Sixers didn't get a win in either game but look for them to move up the ladder with Hodge back and look for Hodge to have a triple-double in the next few games.

Now to the Vlade Divac Flops of the week. The runner-up goes to one time Shooter of the Week, Gary Boodnikoff for essentially not showing up for the game against the Wildcats. In 21 minutes he went 0 of 3 from the field, had 1 board, 1 steal and 1 turnover ... not very productive! The award this week however goes to Matt Burston for his 1 of 7 from the field, 1 of 4 from the line and 5 foul "effort" against the 36ers.

Our Shooter of the Week goes to none other than our current man-crush, Kirk Penney. To be a truly good shooter you have to come through in the big games and with their reputation on the line in the blockbuster against the Dragons, Kirk delivered for the Breakers. He had a game-high 27 points including a very nice 6 of 10 from downtown, 3 of 3 from the line and zero turnovers. Fittingly, Kirk is the first NBL player to win our Shooter of the Week award twice in a season.


New fantasy basketball pick-up

After my recent fantasy basketball update mentioning I had work to do as the GM, it seems I've picked up a nice free-agent signing. Rookie DJ Augustin has seen some increased court-time due to an injury to star Jason Richardson. DJ wasn't great in his last game but today in his second start on my squad he was excellent! His line for today was: 25 points (8 of 11 from the field), 11 boards, 5 assists, 2 triples and an unfortunate 5 turnovers. Overall, very impressive from the youngster!

Now, I know Jason Richardson is back soon but apparently Larry Brown is high on the DJ so hopefully he continues to get good minutes, even off the bench. Click on the title below to read the full recap from the game.

Augustin, Felton lead Bobcats past 76ers 93-84 - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)— D.J. Augustin scored 25 points and added a career-high 11 assists, backcourt mate Raymond Felton added 23 points, and the Charlotte Bobcats used their new speedy and tiny lineup to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-84 on Monday night.

The 6-foot Augustin and the 6-1 Felton had their best game together since coach Larry Brown inserted the rookie Augustin in the starting lineup three games ago. They helped the Bobcats snap a four-game losing streak despite another meek performance from Charlotte’s front line that somehow the 76ers couldn’t take advantage of.

Elton Brand had 18 points, but made only 6 of 13 shots and fouled out with under a minute left. Andre Iguodala added 17 points for the Sixers, who shot 40 percent and had their two-game winning streak snapped.

The Bobcats, who came in as the NBA’s lowest-scoring team at 86.7 points per game, shot 55 percent despite getting little from their frontcourt.

They got plenty from Augustin, the ninth overall pick in the draft.

Two games after he scored 26 points in a loss to Atlanta. Augustin hit 8 of 11 shots and 7 of 9 free throws. His jumper with 2:19 left gave Charlotte an 87-78 lead and Philadelphia couldn’t recover.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Homicide not happy

Never one to hold back, Corey "Homicide" Williams let's everyone know his thoughts about being benched on the weekend. Click on the title below to read the rest of the story.

NBL > News

Jilted Homicide fires for team after starting snub
By Antony Stewart - Townsville Bulletin

Make no bones about it, Corey Williams wants his starting spot back.

Furious after being demoted to the bench for the Crocodiles' clash with Wollongong on Saturday, the star point guard has declared his stint on the sideline will be a short one.

Williams, John Rillie and Russell Hinder were the casualties of Townsville's horrid run of form over the past month, making way for a new-look starting team.

The trio looked on as Kelvin Robertson, Cam Tovey, Brad Williamson, Rosell Ellis and Daniel Egan got the Crocs off to a dream start and laid the foundation for the win.

But Williams, Rillie and Hinder played their part, coming on with a spark in the first term, with Williams' seven straight points helping the Crocs to a 36-19 quarter-time lead.

It was just the third time Townsville have led at the first break in 12 games.

The 31-year-old American admitted being told by coach Trevor Gleeson pre-game he would not start had put plenty of fire in his belly.

'Of course, that p***** me off, I don't want to come off no bench,' Williams said.

'But ultimately that wasn't my decision ... so as long as I came out and got my minutes and do what I do, I ain't got no problem with that.

'But I was real p***** off with that, but there ain't nothing I could do about that.'