Round 2 of NBL22 was one of the most memorable weekends in recent times for the league. Rivalries heating up, classic overtime games and multiple dunk of the year candidates - the weekend simply had it all!
As they are every Wednesday, Kane Pitman, Josh Garlepp and Peter Hooley are on hand to deliver this week's instalment of 3x3. Three opinions and three big questions as the league transitions to Round 3.
Kane Pitman: The NBL has a decision to make when it comes to having a live mic on coaches. On Sunday afternoon, living rooms across Australia heard Melbourne United head coach Dean Vickerman describe South East Melbourne Phoenix guard Kyle Adnam as "the f------ sh---iest little defender in the league".
The comment came after import guard Calab Agada failed to attack the smaller Adnam in transition moments earlier. Those exact words may not have come to my mind, but I too, was wondering why Agada was so passive with that favourable matchup.
Given the comments were highlighted postgame, you have to believe Vickerman will have that moment in his mind moving forward which seems less than ideal when you're trying to coach a professional sports team. I personally don't believe there was anything wrong with those comments and I love the access, but the league likely needs to make a decision on whether or not they want that type of audio going live.
Perhaps more importantly, do coaches want their comments in the heat of the moment being blasted across the world?
Josh Garlepp: Now 3-0 after making their finals debut last season, SEM has cultivated something in two years that evades many teams for decades - a winning culture.
There are some big-name Aussies like Mitch Creek and Ryan Broekhoff but many of the team's key contributors were undervalued prior to arriving in 'basketball's heartland'.
Izayah Le'Afa was a development player but has started the first three games of the NBL season. Kyle Adnam has doubled his output since arriving at the club. Dane Pineau barely played at the Kings before averaging a near double-double in SEM's inaugural season and Zhou Qi is a genuine star.
Phoenix GM Tommy Greer, coach Simon Mitchell and their team have taken some chances to this point, but the payoff could be a championship sooner than expected.
Peter Hooley: I understand that one performance in the first two weeks doesn't mean much after an entire season. However, it's time to give Lamar Patterson some well deserved credit. Let's not forget that we are talking about a guy who was in the MVP conversation a couple years ago.
After a disappointing opening game in Round 1, we saw vintage Patterson in what will be one of the games of the year.
Patterson went into the jungle in Perth and came out on top. He hit clutch shot after clutch shot, en route to an incredible double overtime win. Beating Perth is tough. Beating Perth in Perth is even tougher. But to do that after two overtime periods? That's next level! Patterson hit two huge threes at the end of regulation, on his way to a 27-point performance that could set him up for a big NBL22.
Were the spicy moments across the weekend good for the league?
Kane Pitman: A little bit of pushing and shoving aside, the biggest positive for the league was that the war of words between owners was quickly cast aside for some seriously high-level basketball across the weekend.
Like the majority of basketball scuffles, nothing went further than a little bit of harmless push and shove. The actions of Sydney's Angus Glover and Melbourne's Mason Peatling may have been unnecessary, but let's not pretend the league won't use that vision to promote the next meeting between the competing teams.
True rivalries take a little bit of time to marinate and while the season has only just tipped off, I couldn't help but cast my mind forward to potential playoff series' between the Kings and Hawks or Phoenix and United...
Josh Garlepp: Reprimands were dished out, referees had stern words, but NBL house would be quietly stoked with the attention generated across the country from a fiery Round 2 for NBL22.
Mitch Creek's 'hellacious' dunk was viewed more than 10 million times and both sides' passion was in full force as a near fight broke out in Throwdown one. Peatling's defence of Dellavedova was too much but the 24-year-old fortunately inflicted no serious injury on Creek.
In Sydney, Kings' guard Angus Glover announced himself against the early championship favourite Illawarra. After three ACL reconstructions Glover is no longer content with a bench cameo and with less than 30 seconds remaining added to his 16 points by stepping over Hawks big man Sam Froling and sparked a scuffle at Qudos Bank Arena.
Kings part owner Paul Smith's claims during the week that Illawarra were spying on training sounded like the most transparent PR stunt that the 'Hoops Capital' has conjured up. True or not, the Hawks vs. Kings finish should be far more convincing to fans that the 'Freeway Series' rivalry is as strong as ever.
*Special shoutout to referee Nico Fernandez for the UFC grade takedown of Glover in the heat of the moment.
Peter Hooley: It's great for the league, as long as it doesn't ever become more than that, on the court. There was so much talk leading up to these games, that if it didn't boil over a little, then is there really any rivalry? Aussie sports are built on elite sporting rivalries, and it's what passionate fans live for. To love your team so much, that you hate your biggest rival even more.
No doubt there will be those who don't like it, which is understandable. However, if you look back at it and observe the different camera angles of both scuffles - there was a lot of mayonnaise involved. A lot of barking with no biting. One thing I will say is that it's important to keep it away from the crowd!
Who got it right in Round 2?
Kane Pitman: Adelaide were one of the big losers of Round 1, but they emerge from the second weekend of the season full of confidence after back-to-back wins over Tasmania and New Zealand.
Most importantly, import guard Dusty Hannahs rebounded from a rough start to the season, tallying 40 points across the two games, including some clutch buckets down the stretch to close out the pair of wins.
Hannahs showed vulnerability after the initial win over the Breakers, admitting his rough start had caused some sleepless nights, but he was able to absorb the pressure and respond in an impressive display. Knocking down five of his eight attempts from long range, 36ers fans caught a glimpse of the sharpshooter we've heard so much about.
Josh Garlepp: Delly deserves some recognition for the way he conducted himself in what will likely be the most replayed highlight of the season. The turnover at halfcourt set up failure for the boy from Maryborough, despite being posterised he stepped between a near all-out melee at John Cain Arena, calming both parties before three-quarter time.
The United star was part of one of the worst basket-brawls ever in the Philippines while playing with Australia in 2018 and when push came to shove on Sunday, Delly was perhaps the only reason 2019 World Cup teammate Creek didn't go harder at Peatling.
Outside of the incident, Dellavedova led a fightback for United with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals, but most impressive was his relentlessness and leadership throughout the game. He showed the same tenacity fans came to expect with Cleveland and the Boomers, something United will lean on after a 0-2 beginning to NBL22.
Peter Hooley: Scott Roth got it spot on with his assessment of the Tasmania vs. Cairns game, when he said: "that was like going to the dentist and getting a cavity removed, but they didn't give you novocaine".
This game wasn't pretty, at all. It was a turnover fest with an abundance of missed easy shots. But credit to Cairns, and in particular Tahjere McCall, who put in an inspiring performance on both ends, to get the Taipans the win. To make matters worse, Scott Machado was ruled out of the game early in the first half with a foot injury. Fingers crossed it isn't as bad as it seemed at the time!
Who got it wrong in Round 2?
Kane Pitman: Back to the scuffles!
On Wednesday morning the league announced a raft of fines for players and staff involved in the above mentioned pushing and shoving on the weekend.
United's Peatling was the only player to receive a suspension, with an initial two-game ban reduced to one-game with an early guilty plea. As per the league's classification table, the incident was assessed as intentional, medium contact and high contact given he made impact with Mitch Creek's jaw.
There can be no argument with that assessment, which warrants a two-game ban via the table, but why are we still throwing a blanket over incidents?
It was an act that Peatling didn't appear to think through at the time but was ultimately harmless. He already received a significant penalty by being tossed from the game, I would think that should be a large enough whack for an incident that was done and dusted in a matter of moments.
Josh Garlepp: After a euphoric start to their NBL journey, the JackJumpers crashed back down to earth with back-to-back losses in Round 2.
A late barrage from Josh Adams almost willed Tassie past Adelaide on Thursday but Saturday's road trip to Cairns revealed some of the teething issues you'd expect from a new franchise.
Adjusting to a new offence, undisciplined fouls, forced threes and 19 turnovers against an undermanned Cairns helped hand the Taipans their first win of the season.
The visitors had just 51 points with a little over two minutes remaining and outside of sharpshooter Clint Steindl the side finished 3-28 (11 percent) from deep.
Will Magnay is said to be getting his body right, but the side needs more than seven points and five rebounds in two games for the club to be competitive in their first season.
Peter Hooley: Simon Mitchell and Adam Forde can share this for Round 2, after producing two of the worst coaches' challenges I've seen.
I love the coaches challenge, and shoutout to Fordey for getting one right already this season. But here, both coaches used their challenge on backup big men, who weren't in any foul trouble, and quite clearly were given the correct call. The referee even asked Forde whether he is challenging the foul on Keanu Pinder, or the goaltending on the play, or something else. To which Forde replied: "all the above!"
Thankfully coaches only have one challenge, because Fordey would have lost all of them on the same play. Real Australian cricket team level challenges here.