Bullets hand rusty Phoenix NBL drubbing

Fraser Barton |

The Brisbane Bullets have thumped a rusty South East Melbourne Phoenix 100-84 in the NBL, laying the foundation with a record-breaking first quarter.

Brisbane (3-3) started the home game on a 13-2 run before the scoreline ballooned to 31-6 at quarter time, handing the Phoenix (3-2) their lowest-scoring quarter in franchise history and Brisbane a franchise record quarter-time lead.

Having last played 28 days ago, the Phoenix never got a foothold in the game, shooting a dismal 10 per cent from the field in the opening 10 minutes before improving to 25 per cent at the half.

It was team defence and a purple patch of shooting that led the home side to a 57-29 lead at halftime behind 52 per cent shooting from the field and 50 per cent from behind the arc from their 14 attempts.

The hosts finished 46 per cent from the field while also sharing the ball well on offence with  24 assists as all five starters finished in double figures for scoring. 

Nathan Sobey led with 18 points while Robert Franks had 17 points with 10 board and Lamar Patterson’s nine assists were also a highlight for the Bullets, who turned around a disappointing loss to the Breakers last week with their biggest score of the season.

Brisbane’s Chuanxing Liu won the battle of two of the league’s international stars in a blockbuster match up with countryman Zho Qi. The 225cm centre finished with six points and five rebounds while Qi could only muster two points in his 17 minutes.

“We have to learn from these six games (played) to understand that there’s a way to play basketball and when we play the right way, we will have success,” said Brisbane coach James Duncan.

“And that’s the message that’s going forward.

“It’s nice to beat some of these top teams, but we’ve got to take care of some of the business especially when we’re at home. We have opportunities to get on a little bit of a streak now.”

Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell acknowledged his team probably struggled due to the COVID-19 curveball the club dealt with the past month as they fell to their third loss.

“(The break) definitely had to have contributed. We looked like we were stuck in mud,” he told reporters.

“We haven’t had the ability to get up and down and with any consistency over that 28 days but you know, you got to have a look at where Brisbane was too.

“They were really good, very efficient, they cut us to ribbons with their execution, they worked hard on the boards. 

“I think to talk about us and what we were going through probably takes a little bit too much away from the performance they put on, backing up after their game the other night.”