By Liam Melrose
Wildcats center John Mooney was on fire against the Sydney Kings. Photo: Getty Images
Mooney steals the show from Cotton and Ware
Looking at the round six match-up between the Perth Wildcats and the Sydney Kings you’re immediately drawn to the battle of the superstar point guards in Bryce Cotton and Casper Ware. However, it was Wildcats center John Mooney who stole the show. Mooney finished with an incredible stat line of 30 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and two blocks, while shooting 12/13 from the field. He is the first player in NBL history to finish with 30 points and 18 rebounds while shooting at least 90% from the field with one three-point attempt. Ware and Cotton both had really strong games scoring 34 and 30 points respectively, however it was the Perth rookie John Mooney who well and truly put himself on the NBL map.
Hopson seriously lacking confidence
In our round five six pack I spoke about how good Melbourne United star Scotty Hopson looked against the Illawarra Hawks, however fast forward just over a week and Hopson looks to be lacking confidence yet again. In United’s round five win against the Hawks he finished with 21 points and nine rebounds and looked to be back to the Scotty Hopson we’re used to seeing. Going into round six there were high hopes he had recaptured his 2019/20 season form, however in Melbourne’s loss to the Perth Wildcats he scored just 10 points shooting a lackluster 5/16 from the field and 0/6 from behind the three-point arc. In United’s second game for round six against the Cairns Taipans he was no better, finishing with just eight points while shooting 4/12 from the field. Against the Taipans, Hopson looked to have little confidence often looking to pass mid-shot, in one instance even passing the ball out of bounds while in the midst of an open shot. That is an obvious sign of someone who is playing with little to no confidence. He is a star of this league as he showed with the New Zealand Breakers last season, and while there is still a long way to go this season he needs to turn it on as soon as possible, to lift both his confidence and ultimately his team.
Mitch McCarron continues to lead from the front for Melbourne United. Photo: Melbourne United
McCarron and Baba a perfect match
In the absence of Chris Goulding and Shae Ili, Yudai Baba has filled a void and the backcourt of Mitch McCarron and Baba is a perfect fit. In United’s round six match against the Taipans the pair combined for 34 points, 11 assists, seven rebounds, and six steals, McCarron had the bulk of the steals and assists however as a starting shooting guard Baba has slotted in perfectly. He is great defensively, he can attack the ring and can also shoot the ball as well. McCarron has been terrific as a stand-in captain for Chris Goulding, playing the extremely tough brand of basketball he is known for attacking the basket, while also getting his teammates involved with a number of open looks. Mitch and Yudai are building quite the back-court tandem.
The Taipans let another one slip
Cairns looked to be all over Melbourne in round six, leading at the first break 25-17 and looking to be in control of the match for a majority of the night. However. they were overrun by United in the fourth quarter, something Taipans fans have become used to through the first part of this season. Across their first ten games they’ve only managed to win four final quarters. Three of those matches they led going into the fourth quarter, if they had won those three final quarters from each of those games they’d find themselves sitting in the top four with a record of 6-4. However, as a result Cairns currently sit second last with a record of 3-7, and while they’re definitely not the eighth best team in this league that’s what happens when you struggle to finish off games.
Matt Hodgson took his game to another level with a career high 20 points in round six. Photo: Brisbane Bullets
Matt Hodgson is back
Matt Hodgson has shown how good he can be at different stages throughout his career. In Brisbane’s round six match against the South-East Melbourne Phoenix, Hodgson put up 20 points along with nine rebounds in just over 20 minutes. The Bullets have struggled to find a consistent center in the early part of this season with both Harry Froling and Tyrell Harrison sharing the starting role, however after Hodgson’s performance against the Phoenix he deserves the opportunity to start.
Louzada the key to success if he can stay healthy
Didi Louzada has been injury plagued ever since he came into the league last season, however when he's healthy he is one of the best players in the NBL. In round six against the Perth Wildcats Louzada provided a spark off the bench for the Kings, finishing with 19 points, shooting the ball at 53.8% from the field, including 5/9 from behind the three-point line. Louzada hit some incredibly tough shots, and reminded the league just how good he can be when he is injury-free. If he can avoid any further injuries this season he significantly boosts Sydney’s hopes at a championship.
Cover Photo: Sydney Kings