Basketball Brisbane Bullets Gambling NBL Perth Lynx Sydney Kings Sydney Uni Flames WNBL

My first NBL/WNBL experience

As most people who know me are aware, today was my first day of annual leave from my real job. And as a massive sports fan I’m going to use the next 2 weeks to maximise my attendance at as many live sporting events as possible. So today, along with FanBabble Ben I decided I would finally attend my first Basketball game. I’ve wanted to go to an NBL game since I discovered Barstool Sports had become a jersey sponsor for the side during the 2018/19 season. I still laugh at Australian and NZ media outlets labelling Barstool as a “Controversial” website, if they bothered to even to a second’s worth of research, they would see that Barstool is a much better bigger version of FanBabble……much Bigger.

So today myself and Benny went out to see the Sydney King taking on the Brisbane Bullets. And what a game to attend. We’d purchased ticket to be in the upper tier but as we got there, we were given an upgrade to be behind the bench 5 rows back from the front. Not a bad way to start my first NBL game, and then as we arrived to our upgraded seats, Benny was picked by the match day entertainment and was art of a quiz segment with announcer/ jester for the day Rob Shehadie of Fat Pizza fame. So already for us it was a great experience…although Benny only got 1 of the 3 questions right.

Now for some actual game chat. After the Bullets got the win over the kings in Brisbane on Friday so the Kings were out for revenge on their home court. The win snapped a 4-game losing streak for the kings and will hopefully provide them a little momentum as they head toward the final’s series, although they are very much a big chance of missing out with only 5 games remaining for them this season.

But for today it was a dominant performance by the kings. At the end of the 3rd quarter, they had a commanding 28-point lead over the bullets, and despite being renowned this year for letting leads slip, they would hold and to a much-deserved win. On the court it was a real team effort, no real individual appearances stood out. All the main guys had a day out. DJ Vasiljevic had a game high 23 points  while Glover, Cooks, Martin and Adams all got into double digits. Xavier Cooks and Jarell Martin both recorded a Double Double.

But in this blog, I want to talk more about my experience at the game. Ive gotta say, the entertainment experience at an NBL game is unlike anything Ive ever experienced at a sporting event. The game itself is as end to end as it gets, and while it didn’t serve up as many dunks as I would’ve expected, all of which came in the first quarter. The set-up play for  triples and easy no looks passes inside the key was great to see in person.

And I was kind of amazed at how physical the defence is live. Watching it on tv it looks pretty laid back, but when you’re sitting in the fifth row you can hear the players as the slam into each other on a screen or see how hard they hit at the ball and collide when they drive into the paint. It was actually an eye opener for me, I guess I’m just used to seeing the divas in the NBA prance around at the slightest contact so when I saw how physical it was in the NBL. But it was great to see. Don’t get me wrong, the NBA is ok, plenty of talent but when it comes to toughness, they don’t have anything on Aussies. We saw it from Delly during the Cavs title win with how tough he was when it came to defending Steph Curry who at the time was damn near unstoppable.

The toughness didn’t stop there. As part of the day’s entertainment, we got a second game to enjoy. The WNBL fixture between the Sydney Uni Flames and the Perth Lynx. It was a chance for the Flames to get their first win of the season against a team sporting 3 former WNBA players. And while the Flames controlled most of the game and at one stage holding an 11-point lead in the 3rd quarter, The Lynx would fin there way back into the game before taking the lead with just over 2 minutes left on the clock. They timed there run to perfection but were helped by 2 of the stars for the Flames suddenly going cold after being dominant for much of the match. Shyla Heal and Lauren Mansfield combined for 53 points but when the pressure was on down the stretch, they were unable to stem the flow and make baskets at the right time. On a positive note, on her debut, Rennia Davis managed a double double with 21 points and 13 rebounds in her debut off the bench, but even with those 3 stand out performances, it wasn’t enough. A massive 34 points from Marina Mabrey helped Perth to an amazing comeback win.

I know look towards tomorrow nights game between the Illawarra Hawks and the Adelaide 36ers in Wollongong where I will be experiencing yet another game and one, I fully expect it to be just as entertaining if not more so with both the Hawks and 36ers well in the hunt for the playoffs. If you haven’t been to an NBL game, I absolutely recommend you go to one soon. The quality of play is at its highest level, you will absolutely not be disappointed.

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