Patterson propels Bullets to vital NBL win

Fraser Barton |

Brisbane have breathed fresh life into their faltering NBL season by outlasting the Adelaide 36ers to win 77-73 behind a dominant performance from star Lamar Patterson.

The Bullets (5-7) entered Friday’s contest on a four-game losing streak and without talisman Nathan Sobey due to injury, but rallied from 10 points down twice to secure a vital win at home on Friday night, moving above the 76ers into eighth on the ladder.

Patterson was dominant from the outset, tallying 19 points in the first half before coming up clutch in the final quarter to finish with 32 points, four rebounds, six assists in 30 minutes. 

His steal with two minutes remaining for a show-time dunk elevated the crowd and capped off a run of six straight stops on defence by the home side, as Adelaide (4-7) missed easy buckets down the stretch.

Deng Deng was also crucial for the Bullets down the stretch as his active hands and disruptions in the passing lanes stifled what was a humming Adelaide offence, before it went cold when it mattered most.

“A huge win,” Bullets coach James Duncan said.

“We had lost four in a row, we weren’t playing the right type of basketball and so I’m just really happy that we grinded it out and I’m hoping now guys again start to understand what it takes to win basketball games.”

Defence was a focal point for Duncan’s side as the Bullets are NBL leaders in points allowed at 89.3 per game.

But while satisfied with holding the 36ers to 73 points, the coach was blunt when asked if he was content with their offensive execution.

“No,” said Duncan.

“We need to improve in that area, be more consistent.

“But in saying that…regardless of our offensive execution, we won because of the effort that we showed defensively and we were able to get and run and got some easy layups, and then that pushed us over the edge.

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to improve and be more consistent offensively because that’s part of the game too.”

Emmanuel Malou was the bright spark for Adelaide off the bench going a perfect 4/4 on the night, finishing with 11 points in as many minutes. 

Daniel Johnson recorded a double-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds while Cam Bairstow added 12 points and seven boards.