NBL News: Adelaide 36ers defeats Phoenix Suns in exhibition match

Courtesy of the National Basketball League:

The Adelaide 36ers loaded up for NBL23 with an exciting roster ready to play an up-tempo, high scoring style and all of that was on display with phenomenal shooting to make history beating the Phoenix Suns 134-124.

The 36ers have loaded up under coach CJ Bruton to try and blow the rest of the NBL away with their firepower. They knocked down a remarkable 24/43 from three-point land on Sunday night local time to become the first NBL club to beat an NBA team in NBLxNBA match ups.

The Sixers took on a Suns team who have been strong western conference contenders the past two NBA seasons and at Footprint Centre, Phoenix had a team out there featuring Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and NBL champion Jock Landale.

The Sixers then came out with the most remarkable first half performance as they piled on 71 points when they averaged just 81.5 as a team for a whole game in the NBL last season. 

At one point, the Sixers were going at 8/12 from downtown and still 12/21 by the half-time break having led by as much as 14 and still 71-59 going into the locker room.

The 36ers didn’t let up from there and maintained their lead right throughout the second, kept shooting it remarkably to win by 10 points on the back of hitting 24 three-pointers with the Suns not knowing what hit them.

Craig Randall finished with 35 points on 9/17 shooting from deep for Adelaide with fellow new recruit Robert Franks delivering 32 points and seven rebounds while hitting 6/10 from three-point land.

Check out the highlights below. 

Antonius Cleveland added 22 points with 3/4 long-range shooting while Daniel Johnson had 15 points before going off injured early in the second half.

Kai Sotto impressed with 11 points while Mitch McCarron ran the team brilliantly with four points, nine rebounds, 16 assists and three steals. Sunday Dech added eight points and five rebounds, and Anthony Drmic seven points and five boards.

Cameron Payne top-scored for Phoenix with 23 points and four assists with Mikal Bridges adding 22 points, Deandre Ayton 22, Devin Booker 13 and Jock Landale 12 along with six rebounds.

It was just a remarkable performance in the opening half from the 36ers and they were ready to take the game on, play a run and gun style, and get up the three ball as much as possible.

Daniel Johnson (two), Antonius Cleveland, Sunday Dech all nailed three-point bombs in the opening term but the Sixers weren’t just doing it from long-range. Mitch McCarron was running a beautiful ship including a brilliant dime for the slashing Craig Randall.

Adelaide then closed the first quarter with a flush from Kai Sotto and they led the Suns 33-28.

The 36ers then showed it was no fluke throughout the second quarter and it was Randall who started the period in spectacular fashion with three straight triples in the opening minute.

When Robert Franks added another the Adelaide lead was out to 48-35 and still by half-time the Sixers remained in the lead 71-59 thanks to another three-point bomb from Franks in what was a simply stunning opening half performance.


The second half didn’t start how Adelaide hoped with an apparent leg injury to Johnson on a night where even he would get a kick out of commentators referring to him as the all-time NBL leader in a host of categories, including points scored.

However, the Sixers kept firing and even after the Suns made a run, they steadied with a pretty dime from McCarron to Sotto for another flush to keep them up by three heading towards three quarter-time.

Randall was still hot, though, and drilled his fifth three-pointer to keep Adelaide on top by six going into the fourth.

Adelaide continued to maintain its advantage and Randall finished a fast break layup off a turnover to keep the margin at eight. A nice left handed finish from Franks kept the Sixers on top by four with just over five minutes on the clock before he nailed another from downtown to stretch that lead to seven.

Yet another triple from Cleveland pushed the lead back out to eight. The scorching three-point shooting continued with Randall nailing his ninth of the night with Adelaide’s lead back out to nine.

The Sixers would go on to make history with the 10-point victory in not only a confidence boosting win, but an incredible showcase for the NBL.

The 36ers will now head to Oklahoma City to take on Josh Giddey and the Thunder on Friday morning Australian time before returning home to begin their NBL season.

NBLxNBA 2022

PHOENIX SUNS 124 (Payne 23, Ayton 22, Bridges 22)
ADELAIDE 36ERS 134 (Randall 35, Franks 32, Cleveland 22) 


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