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NBL TotW17: Obvious candidates fall away

THE opening match of NBL Round 17 looked as if it comfortably gave us our Team of the Week - South East Melbourne Phoenix - and our Team of the Weak As Pi$$ in Sydney. Easy. Time to put our feet up and relax ... but then Illawarra beats Perth, then Perth beats SEM. Then Sydney beats Melbourne! How infuriating!  

The Phoenix's win over Sydney was so powerful and uplifting that it was going to take something really special to top it.

Remember, SEM was down imports Alan Williams, Gary Browne and Abdel Nader, while Matt Kenyon also joined Craig Moller on the injured list.

So basically it was down to Mitch Creek and "the Skins". And Creek opened the match with a wide open 3-pointer. Nice going Kings.

Sydney's performance reeked of entitlement and arrogance while South East's was nothing but heart. It was quite the contrast, even for the Phoenix who in Round 16 were our Team of the Weak As Pi$$ for the pathetic way they had been capitulating.

They were coming off a string of losses by an average of 25 points and playing like an NBL1 outfit.

Yet it was those same Phoenix guys rising to the challenge and belting Sydney. Go figure. It just shows how much genuine heart and commitment are worth.

And when Perth came to town, South East again showed its heart and played the Wildcats tight all night before finally succumbing.

If ever a club which split two games still deserved strong consideration for Team of the Week, it was South East Melbourne.

Melbourne again crushing Brisbane put the league leaders into the picture and belting Sydney seemed a formality. But the Kings found something - or maybe someone (Makuach Maluach?) - and beat United, in the process dropping out as Team of the Weak as Pi$$ certainties and back into the pack of simply erratic performers.

Maybe coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah should sub more often. Make a couple of subs during the quarter-time break or during the team introductions.

The Hawks flying out west and handing the Wildcats their heads 95-77 was an outstanding achievement, Illawarra again showing if you can negate Bryce Cotton, Perth has no Plan B.

Having beaten Tasmania, New Zealand's Breakers hit Wollongong full of vigour but ultimately came up short, Gary Clark leading Illawarra to back-to-back wins that saved their season.

And in saving their season and so strongly, Illawarra took our NBL Team of the Week award for Round 17. And with both Sydney and Perth bouncing back in their secondary Round 17 fixtures, it was Cairns, succumbing by 17 to Adelaide in Adelaide that produced the round's weakest overall performance.

Heroball was the order of the day and it cost the Taipans dearly, when they weren't bitching at the refs. Sorry but that was Weak As Pi$$.    

Round 17 Illawarra Hawks
Round 16 Perth Wildcats
Round 15 Brisbane Bullets
Round 14 Adelaide 36ers
Round 13 Sydney Kings
Round 12 New Zealand Breakers
Round 11 New Zealand Breakers
Round 10 Illawarra Hawks
Round  9 Perth Wildcats
Round  8 Adelaide 36ers
Round  7 Melbourne United
Round  6 Perth Wildcats
Round  5 Brisbane Bullets
Round  4 South East Melbourne Phoenix
Round  3 Melbourne United
Round  2 Tasmania JackJumpers
Round  1 Sydney Kings

Round 17 Cairns Taipans
Round 16 South East Melbourne Phoenix
Round 15 Tasmania JackJumpers
Round 14 Sydney Kings
Round 13 South East Melbourne Phoenix
Round 12 Brisbane Bullets
Round 11 South East Melbourne Phoenix
Round 10 Sydney Kings
Round  9 Adelaide 36ers
Round  8 Brisbane Bullets
Round  7 New Zealand Breakers
Round  6 Adelaide 36ers
Round  5 No Nominees
Round  4 Perth Wildcats
Round  3 Illawarra Hawks
Round  2 No Nominees
Round  1 No Nominees

Jan 29

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