After a long winter of football finally the sun has risen on another year of my true love, basketball. Putting lockout nastiness aside, tonight was the first home game for the Perth Wildcats’ 2011-12 championship campaign. There is a lot that can be said about the lead up to the game, the quality of the two sides and the difference in the preseason game between the two and tonight. Now however, and for season 2011-12 I’ve decided to do a fast five of the games or rounds I watch, five points of interest, noteworthy stat lines, astonishing behaviours about the game I love.
So here goes!
Final score tonight had the Wildcats defeat the Melbourne Tigers 92-76. The score line is somewhat misleading as the game had a high level of intensity regardless of how far the lead stretched out.
1. Lucas Walker – My goodness that boy is huge! One of the most athletic players I’ve seen in a while must have hit the gym hard this past off-season, massive upper body! There is a strong resemblance between him and this man:
2. Where in the world were the Melbourne imports tonight? I know where Kevin Lisch was, hitting 22 points and combining with the former import-turned-naturalised Australian Shawn Redhage for an impressive 18/27 shots. Meanwhile the Melbourne tandem of Ayinde Ubaka and Ron Dorsey struggled for a combined 0/11 from the field. Traditionally imports are expected to light it up upon arrival, and both these two did just that in Cairns last year, and even last week against Sydney. But from the looks of things both were overwhelmed by the immense Perth defensive pressure. Which leads me to think that the pair didn’t make any adjustments coming from an (sorry Sydney fans) easier defense and into the Perth cauldron. Especially given both had played last year against Perth, and with significant success if memory serves me right. Mystifying.
3. And so the Perth curse strikes again.
I have had a theory for a very long time about Perth Wildcats, and the players that leave the side. A large majority of the time players that leave return on opposing teams having blossomed into much more talented players. CJ Bruton, James Harvey, Stephen Black, Dillon Boucher, Chris Goulding, Peter Crawford, Matt Burston. The list goes on. New Tiger Liam Rush is no stranger to that list, leaving Perth for the West Sydney Razorbacks and winning the NBL’s Most Improved that same year. Having plied his trade in the foreign leagues he has returned to the NBL and boy is he a different player to last time I saw him in the vicinity of Challenge Stadium. Tonight’s game would have been a blow out if not for him, he’s athletic, a great passer and has inside game as well as an outside shot. Once again, where was all this years ago?
4. Gonna miss Lachy Reid as the unofficial sixth man. He ignites an already volatile atmosphere, though I believe his replacement in Aaron Ford is up to the task. He won’t be the same, but he will bring his own uniqueness to the job.
5. Venues West must be raking in the money, going from their ridiculous prices for everything. Parking $9, water upwards fo $2.50, food an average price of $8. Not to mention alcohol prices, and the fact that every season without fail they have hiked up the parking price. Expect to be paying $10 by season’s end, that’s an extra $150 a season member or not!