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NBL TOTW5: Time to Ditch the Doubts

OUR NBL Team of the Week regularly causes some degree of angst and again after Round 5, we have two teams strongly vying for the right to wear the ultimate and most coveted accolade in Australian team sports. This was always going to be a tough one. The Phoenix or the Breakers? 

After all, let's be honest here. Most every pundit had Perth Wildcats and/or Adelaide 36ers in their playoff candidates for the 2022-23 post-season.

The Wildcats were going to be driven by the memory of last season's absence from the finals after being there every year since 1987. And the 36ers stocked up well with quality imports, then even scored a road win over the NBA's Phoenix Suns.

So to go into Perth and hand the Wildcats their third straight loss, and do it in a big shot-for-big shot thriller, was a memorable achievement for South East Melbourne.

Trey Kell III was the man when the Phoenix then weathered Adelaide's best and escaped the 36ers' clutches in an overtime classic. Unquestionably, the Phoenix are worthy contenders for Team of the Week honours and all the pomp, ceremony and tickertape parades that accompany it.

But sadly for SEM fans, they finished a narrow second to New Zealand Breakers whose performances in Round 5 were so accomplished, that first place on the NBL ladder accompanied their break-out efforts.

First they marched into Adelaide to face a Sixers team feeling good after wins over Illawarra and the champion Kings in Sydney.

The Breakers took that "feel good" mood right off the home team, winning 99-70. Going into the game, NZ was the league's worst 3-point shooting team. The issue was clearly addressed as they provided a long-range clinic, converting 15-of-30 triples, winning every quarter, the third by a whopping 28-12 split.

Back home across the Ditch in Auckland, the Breakers hosted another team noted for its defence and team-first mentality in the Tasmania JackJumpers.

New Zealand led 46-43 deep into the third quarter before unleashing another 3-point barrage, this time going 13-of-30 from beyond the arc, Barry Brown Jr stroking 4-of-5.

To stomp on the Jackies by 32 after beating the 36ers by 29 - that's two wins by 61 points - New Zealand left no doubts about its bona fides and was the stand-out club for our NBL Team of the Week honours.

Clearly NBL officials ahead of Round 5 were told to jump all over the "delay of game" rule, their over-the-top officiousness in repeatedly making that call causing far more delays in the game than any player had at any time. It was ridiculous and again speaks to the great lack of understanding of, or feel for the game most officials display. (Let alone understanding human nature.)

As if giving them discretion on travel calls, mixed messages on USFs, blind-eyeing the voluminous carrying the ball of most every PG dribbler in the league isn't enough. Now let's have them delay the game by searching for delay-of-game warnings and technicals. Idiotic. 

It's not supposed to be a cup-cake league, right? But this round's Team of the Weak As P!$$ award goes to every three-man officiating crew which warned or penalised a team for delay of game.

Round 5: New Zealand Breakers
Round 4 Tasmania JackJumpers
Round 3 Cairns Taipans
Round 2 Sydney Kings
Round 1 Cairns Taipans

Round 5 Every Referee Crew Which Called a "Delay of Game" tech
Round 4 Perth Wildcats | Melbourne United
Round 3 NBL Games Review Panel
Round 2 South East Melbourne Phoenix
Round 1 Not awarded

Nov 1

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