The first game of the season to be aired on free to air tv was a great one. The perth Wildcats managed to win their first game of the season with a game winning shot by Shawn Redhage in the last 20 seconds.
We saw two teams with injured players battle it out on friday night, both of them not letting their opponent get away just when you thought one would take control of the game.
Adelaide started out playing some very nice basketball lead by the 2010/11 MVP Gary Ervin and through the game we saw why he was the MVP two years ago. The first quarter was controlled by the 36ers and they ran the ball. Everything was a fast break opportunity and with Luke Schencher and Daniel Johnson (28 points) running the lanes they made some quick baskets. Daniel Johnson had a monster game and id love to see that performance carry through the season. This was what kept the 36ers in the game their advantage in height in the inside was evident with the Wildcats missing their centre Matt Knight. But this is the coaching style we have seen from Joey Wright he has great confidence in his players and puts together a team with such depth that they can run from start to finish and know the bench will come out blazing. Midway through the first is was 9-17 with Adelaide dominating through Ervins excellent plays and team leadership. But as in the New Zealand vs Wollongong game where Wollongong came out blazing we saw the Wildcats start to bring the
36ers back after a huge dunk by James Ennis who decided to stamp his name onto the game. With two seconds left in the first Ennis made a shot off a huge pass on the buzzer taking it 19-22 in Adelaides favour.
Coming out from the first break Gary Ervin was pumped to hold the lead and starting making some shots and big plays. After this game i'm starting to think that the 36ers acquisition of Ervin with Gibson to help run the team would be the pick up of the season. He drained a 3 then a 2 then another 2. It made development player Drake U'U's 7 point run look dismal, stating this is how we play in the big league. But the Wildcats managed to hold on and a lot was from the athletic plays of James Ennis who given a step had some huge leaps going to the basket and could nail an open 3 with ease, he finished with 25 points and was difference in the game. Perths other import Jermaine Beal had a hard time shooting early in the game missing some open 3 pointers but he was smooth as silk driving to the basket. Beal cleaned his shot up in second helf and finished with 11 points. James Ennis got his 3rd foul as the second quarter started to wind down and it was a big loss to the Wildcats. The first half closed with Perth taking the lead 43-41. Ennis had 14 at the half and Ervin 14p and 3 assists.
Opening the second half Ennis started heating up hitting his 3rd three pointer and the wildcats started to stretch the lead 54-49. His highlight real looks to have just started as he made an alley oop off a poor pass in a fast break. Straight after getting a huge block on Gary Ervin. But as we see Ennis take a rest the Wildcats lead starts to slow down as their offensive presence is lessened with his exit from the court. As the third quarter comes to a close we see Brendan Teys make a great defensive stop as Damian Martin makes a drive to the hole. Teys is one of the players that got to see more minutes with the injured team mates. Joey must see something in Teys as he was also with the Gold Coast Blaze in
the 2011-12 season. With plays like this i think i remembered what is missing in the 36ers with Adam Gibson, and Jarrid Frye injured but at the same extent we see Johnson dominating on offense and realize Perth are playing short a player as well. I think both teams can get even better as the season progresses and the third quarter score is Perth still up 63-58.
With Ervin taking a break we see Jason Cadee who has a lot of Potential to be a great point guard leading the team and scores tie up 74-74 in the final quarter as Luke Schencher keeps Adelaide right next to Perth with some inside shots from the big guy. But Ennis is back on and makes a huge 4 point play as he drains a three and was fouled by Cadee. So Joey brings back Anthony Petrie, Daniel Johnson and Gary Ervin on to the court. The score was 81-80 as the crowd stands for the last minute of the game. Gary Ervin brings the ball up and tries to take the burden on himself as he loses the ball then misses a 3 pointer in heavy traffic. With 30 seconds left Brendan Teys is marking James Ennis and as Ennis makes a drive to the hole Teys stops him with some good defense only for it to be passed out to Shawn Redhage as he makes an easy jump shot. On the other end Anthony Petrie goes for a shot from outside to tie it up in the dyeing seconds but misses as Perth pull down the rebound and the Wildcats take their first win of the season. 83-80.
I think a lot of people were expecting the Wildcats to run all over Adelaide being down two starting players, but this game has sent a message to the league, both that Adelaide is a team that is nearly 10 deep and that Perth's James Ennis is the real deal and he is going to be huge in this league and maybe a chance in the NBA. I think this season is really going to be a good with all teams looking like their might be a little more parity with all teams finding gun imports.
Perth wildcats 83
James Ennis 25, Jesse Wagstaff, Shawn Redhage 1, Jermaine Beal 11
Adelaide 36ers 80
Daniel Johnson 28, Gary Ervin 14, Luke Schencher 13