Mon, Oct 15, 11:01am by Staff Writer
The opening weekend of the 2018-19 NBL season produced the biggest opening round crowds since 1995 and a number of upset results.
The Sydney Kings’ pre-season favouritism is yet to be proven as they went to down to the Adelaide 36ers 94-83 on Saturday afternoon.
The 36ers went on an 18-2 run to end the game as the Kings went cold at a crucial time.
Former NBA number one pick Andrew Bogut made his NBL debut for the Kings but scored just six points in 26 minutes. Bogut was 2/9 from the field and had 14 rebounds.
Jerome Randle top scored for Sydney with 28 points in 38 minutes.
It was a more balanced scoring effort rom Adelaide, with four players in double figures.
The 36ers are $12 to win the NBL Championship after finishing runners up last season.
They began the new campaign with a loss on Thursday night against Perth by a 99-91 scoreline.
Both sides returned to Australia after playing in NBL x NBA preseason matches in the United States, with the Wildcats the fresher side down the stretch.
Perth used runs in the second and fourth quarters to get the better of Adelaide and record its first win of the season.
It was the Wildcats’ starters that got the job done, with four of them in double figures on the night.
Perth is $6 to win the NBL Championship this season.
They backed up their win on Thursday night with a crushing 40-point victory against Illawarra on Sunday night.
The Hawks were coming off a triple overtime game against Melbourne United on Friday night and looked weary from the outset.
They fell behind by 12 points at quarter time and 22 at the break.
The Hawks failed to win a quarter or score more than 20 points in any quarter in a diabolical early season performance.
They are $21 to win the NBL Championship.
Friday night’s triple overtime thriller was only the second time in NBL history that a match has gone to triple overtime and the first time it has happened in more than 20 years.
Melbourne United got the points in a heart stopper by a 123-122 score.
Players were cramping late in the game as both team’s needed to deal with foul trouble down the stretch.
On his Illawarra debut, Todd Blanchfield hit a number of clutch shots for the Hawks and had 26 points all up, including six threes.
United’s scoring effort was made by its starters, who all played in excess of 42 minutes.
Josh Boone had 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Chris Goulding had six threes, including three in overtime.
United is the second favourite to win the NBL Championship this season at $3.25 but has a 1-1 record this season.
Much like Illawarra, Melbourne struggled to back up Friday night’s marathon game with a win on Sunday.
The travelling New Zealand Breakers used a 28-14 second quarter outburst to turn a nine-point quarter time deficit into a five-point half time lead.
The visitors never relinquished the lead from thereon, with Tai Wesley top scoring with 25 points.
The Breakers are $10 to win the title.
They suffered an opening night shock loss to the Brisbane Bullets in Auckland 86-73.
The visitors’ new recruit from Cairns Cam Gliddon shone with 29 points and it was the Bullets who came out the stronger side after half time, scoring 51 score half points to just 35 by New Zealand.
Brisbane was unable to back up its strong performance in Thursday night when it hosts Cairns on Saturday evening.
The Taipans played their only game of round one at the Brisbane Entertainment and Convention Centre and won every quarter on their way to an 88-70 win.
Round two action tips off on Friday night with Adelaide hosting Sydney. The 36ers are $2.20 outsiders, with the Kings a $1.61 favourite.
Other feature matches of the weekend include the Kings’ visit to New Zealand on Sunday. They are $1.61 favourites to win that match as well.
There is a Grand Final rematch on Sunday afternoon when Melbourne ($1.44) hosts Adelaide ($2.62) at Melbourne Arena.
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