NBA prospect Josh Giddey has suffered an ankle injury as Adelaide 36ers went down 96-89 to a never say die South East Melbourne Phoenix in an NBL overtime thriller on Saturday.
The Phoenix trailed by 14 points in the third term but went on a final 7-0 run to lock up the scores 82-82 at the end of regulation time, before cruising to a club record fourth straight win at John Cain Arena.
The 18-year-old Giddey – a projected first round 2021 NBA Draft pick – limped off the court midway through the five minute overtime period after colliding with Phoenix big man Yannick Wetzell and didn’t return.
Giddey had threatened to inspire only Adelaide’s second win in seven games after dropping 15 points along with 10 rebounds and seven assists before falling awkwardly.
“I really don’t know the severity of it,” Adelaide coach Conner Henry said of Giddey.
After opening the scoring for the match, the Phoenix remarkably did not lead again until bench sensation Izayah Mauriohooho-Le Afa (10 points) nailed a three to open overtime and from there the hosts were never headed.
The fourth-placed Phoenix move to a 10-7 record in their first game without co-captain and ex-NBA player Mitch Creek.
Boomers squad member Creek was stood down this week after being charged with assault.
In his absence, Ben Moore nailed a career-high 23 points along with 10 boards in his first start while big Kiwi Wetzell (22 points), Mauriohooho-Le Afa and livewire guard Kyle Adnam (13 points) also stood up.
“It was an unusual one. Offensively we struggled at times but I think we were the king of broken play tonight,” Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell said.
“It’s a different looking team at the moment (without Creek) so we have to work our way through it.”
Boomers and ex-NBA player Ryan Broekhoff had just three points in his third game for the Phoenix after early foul trouble.
But their depth is no longer an issue with Adam Gibson (calf) and Dane Pineau (back) returning on Saturday, leaving just star guard Keifer Sykes (ankle) on their injury list.
Brandon Paul surprisingly started on the bench after dropping 25 points on his 36ers debut last round and only had three to his name three quarters in.
Yet Paul finished with 20 points – including 15 in the fourth term – but couldn’t stop Adelaide suffering a second straight second-half fadeout and their third straight loss.
The 36ers (7-11 record) lost last round by nine points to Perth after leading by 21 at halftime.