Sixers bring hammer down on Hawks
Adelaide extended their winning streak to six games with a 22-point victory over Illawarra in their NBL clash on Friday night.
The Adelaide 36ers made it six wins on the trot and left Illawarra's NBL finals hopes in serious doubt after pounding the Hawks 112-90 on Friday night.
Leading from start to finish, the Sixers were paced by resurgent Nathan Sobey who was back to his early-season brilliant best with 25 points at 78 per cent, six assists and consistent hard-nosed defence on Hawks dangerman Rotnei Clarke.
Daniel Johnson (17 points, 10 rebounds) was also influential early, while Clarke (17 points) worked his way into the match to lead Illawarra's scoring but did it the hard way, missing all seven three-point attempts with Sobey wearing him like a glove.
In 40-plus degrees conditions in Adelaide, the hottest team in the league laid the foundation for their sixth successive win with a commanding 64-45 opening half.
The 36ers held sway 32-25 at the end of a frenetic opening term that featured a bit of everything from a run of eight Adelaide points in 71 seconds on the back of consecutive inbound steals.
There was also a world-class dunk-of-the-year contender from Demitrius Conger on Mitch Creek where the Hawks import spectacularly twisted 180 degrees with a mid-air adjustment.
The pace remained fierce in the second stanza which the 36ers once again dominated 32-20, Johnson (15 first-half points) outpointed Illawarra's big men.
Clarke copped loud boos from midway through the third quarter when he bluffed his way to a trip to the foul line while appearing to milk no contact with Sobey.
But the American's theatrics couldn't prevent the 36ers from drawing further clear, 89-65 at three-quarter-time, and winning in a canter to leave the Hawks, grand finalists last year, licking their wounds.