By Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash
Tai Webster was incredible finishing with 29 points and 11 assists as the Breakers defeated the 36ers by 44 points. Photo: Getty Images
NZ flick the switch
Going into this season I had the New Zealand Breakers finishing in the top three. However, things haven’t worked out as expected for the Breakers in the early part of this season, going into round seven they found themselves sitting in last position on the NBL ladder with a dismal record of 1-6. On Saturday night they flicked the switch, stunning the Adelaide 36ers 106-62 and warning the rest of the league how good they can be. The way they played on Saturday night is what we expected them to play like going into the season. The Webster brothers were magnificent against the 36ers, combining for 58 points, seven rebounds and 14 assists. This win may well and truly ignite the Breakers season.
Kings got swagger
Sydney didn't get the win against Melbourne in round seven, but they got my attention. They have swagger and that f*** you mentality. United are the best team in the league and the Kings went into John Cain Arena as if they were undefeated and they were best players in the world. I love that. Casper Ware and Dejan Vasiljevic especially took it at Melbourne. After every bucket, talking s*** to Dean Vickerman, to the crowd, and every United player that would listen. When you're the underdog, you have to do this. Act 10 feet tall because it may just throw them off their game the slightest bit, enough for you to take advantage. It didn't work for Sydney on Saturday night, but it may pay off down the line.
With Mitch Creek in career best form, how far can the South East Melbourne Phoenix go in 2021? Photo: South East Melbourne Phoenix
Mitch Creek taking the Phoenix to new heights
South East Melbourne superstar Mitch Creek is in MVP form. Across his past three games he has averaged 25.6 points, nine rebounds, and just over four assists per game. He is the Phoenix’s marquee player, and they look a lot more dangerous when he is playing at this level, and when he is in this kind of form they can beat anyone. On the back of Creek's purple patch of form the team has found themselves in the top four, and with the addition of Ryan Broekoff to the team as early as next week, and Keifer Sykes expected to come back into the lineup, how far can the Phoenix go this season?
Hawks in trouble but can turn it around
Illawarra flew out of the blocks, beginning the season 4-0 and finding themselves atop the NBL ladder. However, after winning their first four matches they suddenly look flat and have since won only two of their past seven games, which sees them now sitting fourth with a record of 6-5. Brian Goorjian had the Hawks looking so well balanced with their systems flourishing in the opening rounds of the season, they looked to be a lock for the top four based on how well they were playing as a group. No matter who was on the floor at any given time, everyone looked as though they understood their role and it was working perfectly. It’s vital they regain that early season form as soon as possible, otherwise the season will slip away. However, with Goorjian at the helm I’m confident they’ll turn things around and remain in the top half of the ladder.
Isaac Humphries is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a foot injury. Photo: Getty Images
Humphries injury sucks
The big fella was in MVP form but a 4-6 week injury crushes that dream. It sucks to see. Humphries was enjoying a standout offensive year, adding to the defensive/rebounding parts of his game that he's always had. Putting up 15.5 points, eight rebounds and three blocks per game. He has been shooting at 59.6 percent from the field and 61 percent from two point range. Impressive numbers for a player not known for his offensive game. 2021 has been impacted, but this won't be the end of the young man's offensive burst ... I hope.
Cairns are done
I gave them every chance to turn it around, but Cairns are finished. Two 20-point losses in round seven takes them to 3-9 and well and truly bottom of the ladder. Worst still, they've played 12 games, more than every other team bar Adelaide. Sydney to start round eight doesn't help their case, and even Adelaide to finish is no easy beat. Sorry Taipans fans, season 2021 is finished.
Cover Photo: Getty Images