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'Alex came in and sparked us': Bruton

04 Nov
3 mins read

Written By

Dale Fletcher

CJ Bruton applauds second half impact from Alex Starling as 36ers fall short against Wildcats in Perth

Adelaide 36ers head coach CJ Bruton hailed the impact of power forward Alex Starling during Saturday night's loss to Perth Wildcats at RAC Arena.

Starling, the 34-year-old NBL rookie, was put into the game during the third quarter, and along with Trey Kell, sparked a 36ers fightback.

The 36ers were trailing 71-51 with under four minutes to play in the third quarter, but fired back into the game on the back of a 17-2 run, while missing Jacob Wiley for the enitre second half due to illness.

“Alex came in and I thought he played a great role for us, Wiz (Wiley) was sick, and when you’re sick, it’s next man up,” Bruton said.

“Tohi (Smith-Milner) came in and made some big shots, his energy and effort and strength around the rim, able to slide his feet, I thought he did a good job.”

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Bruton has praised his side’s second half fight but said a second quarter run was the catalyst to the 99-88 loss.

“We had a pretty decent start, but allowed Perth to stay in it and the crowd to be effective then it grew, and grew a little bit, an before you know it, we were chasing our tails in that middle part,” Bruton said post-match.

“I was disappointed at half time at where we were at and what we had given up.

“Spoke to the boys about it and it was good to see the fight and get back in front.”

The 36ers had a 77-73 lead after a second three-pointer from Smith-Milner, but the visitors failed to land the winning punch.

“As that last patch happened, we sort of teetered out, we got a little tired and we allowed them to get some easy buckets and looks which keeps the pressure on us,” Bruton said.

“Basketball is a game of runs, people can get hot, its about how you can control that and make sure you execute at the other end of the floor.

“Our communication wasn’t great throughout the game and it played into their hands.”

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Adelaide came to Perth on a two-game winning run and was facing a Wildcats side who had lost their past four matches, but Bruton said the NBL24 season is so tight, and every team has to be switched on from the opening tip, every night.

“You look across the board, anyone can beat anyone, and we will shift and we will move around (on the ladder),” Bruton said.

“The scouting from every club here, everyone does a pretty good job, and it will come down to the players making plays, and decisions,

“The basketball one-on-one, in between the lines, it will come down to who has heart, who has energy and who can do the little things in the basketball one-on-one to get the win,

“And tonight, that was Hyrum Harris.”

Adelaide will be back at home on Brett Maher Court at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre next Saturday night when the 36ers play host to Tasmania JackJumpers.

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