By Liam Melrose
Yudai Baba lifted Melbourne United over the Perth Wildcats in round four. Photo: Melbourne United
The Yudai Baba show was on full display at Bendigo Basketball Stadium in round four. Baba came off the bench to finish with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists, however he did it at both ends of the floor with his length on show, managing two blocks and two steals. With superstar Chris Goulding going down with a calf injury, United needed someone to step up with the match in the balance, and the explosive Japanese guard did just that. With Shae Ili and Chris Goulding expected to miss up to four weeks, I expect we’ll see Baba slot into the Melbourne starting unit for more Baba Brilliance.
Deng and Noi lift to slither Taipans past Breakers
Majok Deng and Kouat Noi combined for 39 points on Monday night as the Cairns Taipans defeated the New Zealand Breakers 84-69. Over the past two seasons the bulk of the Cairns scoring has come from Scott Machado and Cam Oliver, however Deng and Noi are both proven scorers and they reminded us just how dangerous they can be on Monday night. The balance of the Taipans starting unit was back to their best in round four and if they can keep this up they’ll get their season back on track.
Jarrell Martin was at his best on Saturday night as the Sydney Kings cruised to a 94-75 win over the Adelaide 36ers. Photo: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images
Casper and Jarrell an almighty combination
Casper Ware has had somewhat of a shaky start to the 2021 season, however on Saturday night he was back to his best. After a scoreless first quarter, the superstar went on to finish with 27 points, 14 of those coming on the back of a phenomenal fourth quarter performance. His stat line also included 6/10 from behind the three-point arc, he was back to the Casper Ware we have become so used seeing to over the past few seasons. While Ware finished off the 36ers, it was Sydney’s other import Jarrell Martin who started the game superbly on his way to 23 points, as the pair combined for 50 points as they cruised to a comfortable 94-75 win.
Kings find the Key to getting past 36ers
The Adelaide 36ers were on a roll going into their round four match-up with the Sydney Kings, having won four of their last five games including their most recent over the Kings a week earlier. However, the Kings found the key to stopping the 36ers on the offensive end, put the clamps on Isaac Humphries. With Humphries in career best form and arguably Adelaide’s best player right now, they have looked to be one of the better teams in the league. On Saturday night, the Kings limited him to just four points and in doing so shut the 36ers down completely.
Cam Gliddon finished with 15 points on the back of 5/11 shooting from behind the three point line against the Illawarra Hawks. Photo: Martin Keep/Getty Images
Sharpshooting Gliddon finds his range
South East Melbourne’s Cam Gliddon has been one of the league’s best shooters for a number of years. However, prior to round four he hadn’t found his range, with the guard/forward really struggling. On Sunday against the Illawarra Hawks he flicked a switch, hitting five threes and reminding us of how dangerous he can be when he is at his best. The Phoenix look a whole lot better when he is hot.
Alarm bells for the Breakers
The New Zealand Breakers were tipped by most to finish the 2021 season in the top three. However, at the moment they look a long way off it. On paper they’re one of the most talented rosters in the league, however currently sitting at 1-3 it’s simply not working, and they could very well be 0-4 if it wasn’t for a late rally to pull off a come from behind win against the Taipans on Saturday. It seems as though the Breakers coaching staff isn’t sure what their best rotation looks like. It's simply a shambles and while it’s only early days, they need to turn things around quickly otherwise the season will get away from them.
Cover photo: Cairns Taipans