May 16, 2024
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Photo: Melbourne United (Twitter / X)

Who performed well on Blitz day five?

Game 9: Cairns Taipans 100-95 SEM Phoenix

Game one of today’s triple header saw an ultra-competitive game between the young Cairns Taipans and the new look South-East Melbourne Phoenix. The Taipans would take their first win of the blitz, winning by five points thanks to some clutch time buckets by Patrick Miller.

Miller, who’s been compared to former United and Kings’ import Casper Ware, had 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal. The ‘tank’ of Cairns’ roster will most likely be their closure for this upcoming season, after the departure of All-NBL import DJ Hogg.

Close behind Miller in the scoring for the snake skin-wearing side was Swedish next star Bobi Klintman with 18 points, starting his first game at the Blitz. He rounded out his stat line with four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Mitch Creek played his first minutes of the blitz but was under a heavy minutes restriction and did not step onto the court in the second half. This would be the first time fans would’ve seen the frontcourt of Creek and Cook together even though it was limited.

The latter, Cook, resumed his blitz form with 16 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks, showcasing his talents as a rim protector which is something the Phoenix have missed in previous years.

Point guard Gary Browne led the charcoal and green in scoring yet again with 19 points with fellow backcourt partner Will Cummings having 15.

South-East Melbourne now completes their Blitz with a 1-2 record and Cairns with one more game to play against Illawarra.

Game 10: Illawarra Hawks 95-88 Brisbane Bullets

The might of Aron Baynes could not stop the Hawks from achieving their first win of the NBL Blitz with a seven-point victory.

Baynes achieved the rare feat of a twenty-twenty game (20 points, 20 rebounds) in a 40-minute game, something that has only been done only a handful of times in the NBL regular season since the league switched to 10-minute quarters. Most recently by former Breakers import Colton Iverson.

What made it even more impressive was the fact he did it in only 24 minutes of court time.

Outside of Big Banger, It was Nathan Sobey and DJ Mitchell who pushed the Bullets to a close game. The bronze medallist Sobey had 17 points and six assists while the American-Australian Mitchell had 16 points with a 4/7 shooting performance from three.

For the winning Hawks, it would be a breakout performance by rookie big man Lachlan Olbrich who guided them to victory.

Olbrich, who attended UC Riverside in the United States last year had 20 points in just under 20 minutes for Illawarra off the bench, showcasing his playmaking ability as well with three assists.

Running with the South Australian was experienced import Tyler Harvey, who is about to enter his fourth year in the league. The former runner-up MVP had 16 points on 46.2 per cent shooting from the field.

Both teams have one game remaining on the Gold Coast, Brisbane plays Sydney and the Hawks face off with Cairns. Both games will be on Friday.

Game 11: Melbourne United 105-87 Sydney Kings

United took care of business versus their rival Kings 105-87, with a well-rounded scoring performance by the entire Melbourne roster.

The win took United’s Blitz record to 3-0, potentially taking out the Loggins-Bruton Cup for tournament champions.

Luke Travers stuffed the box score yet again for United, showing his worth for a potential Cleveland call-up. He scored 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a whopping four steals, mainly through cutting passing lanes.

Chris Goulding shot 50 per cent from the field on his way to 20 points, including six three-pointers.

Ariel Hukporti had 19 points, eight rebounds and a block, as well as altering shots throughout the game. It felt like he had more blocks than just one.

Former MVP Jaylen Adams played his first game for Sydney, having seven points and five assists as he got his legs under him for the upcoming season.

But it would be Centre of Excellence product Alex Toohey who was the best for the Kings, compiling 19 points, two rebounds, two assists and a block.

Former Philadelphia 76er Jonah Bolden was close behind, showing his first real glimpse of his former self with 16 points, six rebounds and a block, shooting 4/5 from three.

Tomorrow will see Milton Doyle’s Tasmania JackJumpers take on Mitch McCarron’s Adelaide 36ers (5pm AEST), and Bryce Cotton’s Perth Wildcats face off against Parker Jackson-Cartwright’s New Zealand Breakers (7:30pm AEST).