Adelaide 36ers forced to overtime in heart-stopping win over the Breakers
Four games into the new season and it’s safe to say the Adelaide 36ers are the heart-stopping kings of the NBL.
The 36ers pulled out their second overtime victory in the space of eight days with a thrilling 94-91 win over the New Zealand Breakers at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday night.
Breakers guard Tai Webster was brilliant for the visitors with a game-high 34 points, but having fouled out with 11 seconds on the clock, it was up to Lamar Patterson to launch a three-pointer that would have sent the game to double-overtime.
Issac Humhpries of the 36ers blocks Tai Webster of the Breakers. Picture: Kelly Barnes/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The shot missed, the 36ers grabbed the rebound and improved to 2-2 on the season, having beat South-East Melbourne Phoenix in double overtime 116-108 last Sunday.
Centre Isaac Humphries was unstoppable, leading the way for the 36ers with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while veteran import Donald Sloan easily had his best game for his new club, scoring 20 points, including a clutch three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
Emerging star Josh Giddey had a quiet night, finishing with four points, five rebounds and two assists after missing Wednesday night’s loss to South-East Melbourne with concussion.
Tai Webster of the Breakers was dynamic on Friday night. Picture: Kelly Barnes/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
TAI BACKS UP OLDER BROTHER’S SMACK TALK
All the hype was around the return of NBA prospect Giddey for the 36ers, but Breakers and Tall Blacks guard Tai Webster won the individual battle.
In his first NBL game in eight years after stints in US College and playing professionally in Turkey, the 25-year-old Webster was dynamic, finding numerous ways to score on his way to a game-high 34 points.
Webster’s older brother Corey, who didn’t play due to a hand injury, got chippy on social media on Friday afternoon, tipping Tai to dominate Giddey. “Tai gone (sic) eat him up,” Corey Webster tweeted.
HUMPHRIES EMERGING AS GENUINE STAR
Humphries had his second strong game for the 36ers, this time as part, of the starting five for the first time. Humphries was a dominant force in the paint, scoring 24 points to go with 11 rebounds.
The 23-year-old has already had a taste of the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks.
Having recovered from a knee injury that hampered his pre-season, Humphries will definitely be on the radar of NBA teams with more performances like this.
Humphries is embracing his twin towers partnership with captain Daniel Johnson as the two big men learn how to effectively share the court.
“I’m loving (playing with Johnson), he’s an incredible player, he’s smart,” Humphries said.
“I’ve never had another big we can feed off. It’s very rare to have two twin towers who can feed off each other.
“We’re still finding our connection and we’re still figuring it out how we’re going to work with each other, but we’re making strides every single game.”
Rob Loe of the Breakers sets a hard screen on Donald Sloan of the 36ers. Picture: Kelly Barnes/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Humphries said he was quick to shake off a quiet first half.
“It doesn’t matter what happens in the first half, you can always reset and come out and change the whole trajectory of the game, that’s what basketball is,” Humphries said.
“I went in and said coach, ‘What do you need me to do?
“I love coming in and bringing that energy and that physicality and getting everyone up.”
Coach Conner Henry said the work Humphries did on the defensive end was important.
“The blocked shots are coming and his timing is really good, whether it’s a small or a big, he’s staying down long enough and being able to measure it up and go get it,” Henry said.
SLOAN COMES UP BIG TO SEND GAME TO OVERTIME
The final minute of regulation was dramatic – Webster putting the Breakers in front with a big three-pointer before Donald Sloan answered with a clutch three of his own.
Webster had one last chance, driving hard to the basket with time winding down to draw contact, but he couldn’t get a call from the referees with scores locked at 82-82 as time expired.
“He really doesn’t feel pressure, he’s been in a lot of big scenarios in his life, playing big games,” Henry said.
“That’s not to say he doesn’t understand the seriousness of being here and how it’s important to not only him, but to all of us so it’s our job to get him going and continue to be comfortable in the system and be a vital member of this team.
“I’m glad he got a little bit of a monkey off his back and that was good.”
COVID-19 BREACH LEAVES BREAKERS SHORT-HANDED
Already without Corey Webster with a hand injury sustained cutting an avocado, the Breakers suffered another blow when Dan Trist was ruled out after a breach of COVID-19 protocols. The Breakers gave permission for a family member from Victoria to visit Trist in Adelaide, but it wasn’t cleared by the NBL.
Originally published as36ers leave it late again in NBL thriller
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