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Historic win as 36ers shade the Suns

HOT on the heels of Australia's Opals reasserting themselves on the world stage with a Bronze Medal, the Adelaide 36ers today created history as the first NBL club to beat an NBA franchise, stunning basketball fans worldwide with a 134-124 victory over the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix.

Social media went into meltdown, as the Suns won 64 games last season to finish atop the NBA's Western Conference, making this 36ers' win one for the ages.

The Suns' 64-18 record was the NBA's best. Adelaide's 10-18 was good enough for seventh in the NBL. But this is a new-look team, reshaped in the vision of coach CJ Bruton.

Not only did he coach the first-ever win by an Australian team against an NBA opponent, but it also proved the first loss by an NBA franchise to any team outside of Europe.

Adelaide dropped 24-of-43 long range guided missiles and bear in mind, those were on the extended NBA 3-point line. Imports Craig Randall (24 points in the second half) and Robert Franks combined for 67 points, with 15 triples between them.

Randall's 13-of-21 from the floor included 9-of-17 from range for 35 points, sure to catch the eye of NBA insiders.

Franks' 32 points came on 11-of-20, with 6-of-10 outside the extended arc. He too may soon be receiving a call.

Mitch McCarron's 16 assists included a couple of sizzlers, none better than his two-handed, no-look over the back to Kai Sotto for a simple slam dunk.

Daniel Johnson (15 points) and McCarron's playmaking and nine rebounds ensured the 36ers hung tough. But when former NBL stars Jock Landale (12 points) and Torrey Craig (10 points) entered with the rest of the Suns' second unit, the 36ers went to work.

Their shooting barrage was some of the most mesmerising imaginable. And some of those shots were from Steph Curry-two metres beyond the top of arc range!

Believe it. The 36ers were having a ball. Randall's three straight monster bumbs put them in front, Phoenix was chasing all the way to the siren, Adelaoide ahead by as many as 14 points.    

Cameron Payne led the Suns with 23 points, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton adding 22 apiece and Devin Booker 13. Chris Paul had 12 assists.

NBAvNBL preseason fixtures went into recess during the pandemic, revived with today's game.  

The 36ers opened their 2022-23 preseason by winning the NBL's PreSeason Blitz in Darwin, making the club back-to-back winners of the Loggins-Bruton trophy.

The trophy honours Hall of Famers Leroy Loggins and Bruton's father Cal, making it ironic CJ's team has now won it twice in the two years he has been a head coach at Adelaide. Keeping it in the family!

Phoenix became the first club to lose to a non-NBA team since the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 lost to Real Madrid 137-142 in overtime.

The 36ers face Oklahoma City on Friday, former Sixer Josh Giddey joining basketball celebrities as diverse as LeBron James, Simon Mitchell and Jamal Murray in commenting on social media about today's shock result.

Oct 3

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.