THE HANGOVER: DRAFTSTARS WEEKLY WRAP
In the midst of the “festival of footy”, that is, 10 out 11 days where AFL is on show, it may surprise you to learn there is actually other sport being played in the world. Even in Australia.
And it may even surprise you even more to learn it was actually Easter over the weekend as well. So, while you sit on the couch loathing the amount of chocolate and hot cross buns you ate, let’s look back over the past week in sport.
The AFL baffled casual observers and “experts” alike with a plethora of upsets and unexpected results and armchair NBA experts were left pretty much exactly as they expected to be left after a tiny blip from the Warriors when they lost after being 31-points up.
Funny story, I overheard some Warrior “fans” saying the Warriors don’t have much of a home court advantage and Draymond and Boogie will both leave while Klay will undoubtedly stay. They seemed quite knowledgeable so let’s say, Warriors lose in seven and the Clippers win the whole thing.
AFL ROUND FIVE
The fifth consecutive Thursday with a game on proved to be somewhat of a let-down. The Lions were buoyed by their first sell-out crowd in nine years but that was where the Lion buoyancy stopped. The Pies delivered the Lions a reality check with Brody Mihocek the main instigator, he booted four goals from his 18 disposals and notched up 105 DS points.
Essendon are back, and they are back in a big way. Their third consecutive score of 110+ coincided, unsurprisingly, with their third win. Dylan Shiel was superb with 127 DS points but Zach Merrett, who recaptured some of his 2017 All-Australian form, made a mockery of the toothless Roos midfield with 39 touches, nine tackles and 143 DS points.
Over in the West, Port delivered the major upset of the round as they crushed the Eagles. They never looked like losing, dominating every element of the game and potentially unveiling a blueprint for beating the Eagles. However, it was Jack Petruccelle who proved to be the Draftstars contest difference maker with 18 disposals and five goals which led to 115 DS points.
The next upset came in Canberra when Fremantle turned every tipster’s week into a nightmare overcoming the Giants. A final quarter goal kicking ensured the victory after Matt Taberner put on a match winning show over the rest of the game. His 21 disposals, 13 marks and three goals would have only been made better if he could convert in front of the big sticks, yet he still managed 128 DS points.
Melbourne were as insipid as St Kilda were superb. Slumping to 1-4, the Dees mirrored the Saint’s 4-1 record and marked one of the most sensational falls from grace in AFL history. Deemed surplus to requirements by the Dees, Dean Kent was exactly what they have been crying out for in 2019. He booted three goals from his 20 touches and snared 106 DS points.
After a horror start, the Tigers have steadied the ship. Their victory over a flat and fickle Sydney marked the first time they have had a winning record this season. The Bud tried hard to lift his side as he jumped to seventh on the all-time leader goal scorers list but it was his teammate, Jordan Dawson who proved to be the most inspired DS player in the contest. He had 31 disposals, 11 marks and 118 DS points playing behind the ball and was one of the best value picks of the round.
Hallelujah, rejoice, Carlton fans. Doggies fans, it is not looking good. The Blues secured their first win of the year and broke the 100-point barrier for the first time in 59 games. Harry McKay was simply unstoppable as he snatched 11 marks (five contested) and booted four goals. His breakout game earned him thousands of fans and 128 DS points.
Sunday night saw Eddie Betts light up his 300th game. With the Crows teetering on the edge of destruction, Betts delivered a vintage performance to lead his chargers to a huge win over Gold Coast. Though, it was Crows midfielder, Cam Ellis-Yolmen, who caught the eye of DS punters with his 29 disposals, eight tackles and 106 DS points.
And Monday has old enemies Hawthorn and Geelong faced off. This time, Geelong had the clear upper hand going into the contest, particularly when Hawks captain, Ben Stratton was a late withdrawal. Gary Ablett capitalised on his absence the most, turning back the clock, taking a hanger and booting three goals as he scored 110 DS points.
The playoffs are just an exciting time for any basketball fan. Especially the first round when there are several games every day.
So far, already, we have seen 24 games and a series victory. The victory came at the expense of the Pacers, who were bitterly unlucky to lose their star man, Victor Oladipo, and would have been considerably more competitive had he been involved. That series saw Jayson Tatum post out-of-this-world shooting percentages as he averaged 20 points on 51% from the field and 53% from deep. Combined with almost six rebounds and a steal each game, Tatum was the DS player of the series.
The Philly/Nets series has been a hell of a lot of fun. Jared Dudley has a case of senile grumpiness and has been jawing at the Sixers stars all series. It seemed to be working early but then Ben Simmons exploded in game two and game three, Tobias Harris and JJ Redick were untouchable from three and Joel Embiid went off to secure another victory. Harris has been the player of the series but Caris LeVert is doing it for the underdog Nets. His 22 points, five boards and three assists per game have his as hot DS property.
After slipping in game one against Orlando, Toronto have just gotten it done in the next three games. Kyle Lowry’s well documented post-season struggles have been offset by MVP type performances from Kawhi Leonard and a huge performance from Pascal Siakam. Siakam led the Raptors to a game three win with 30 points and 11 boards and the Raptors are now one game from a series victory.
Milwaukee have been clinical in their destruction of the Pistons. Detroit were lucky to make it there in the first place, then Blake Griffin got injured, and the writing was on the wall. As expected, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on another level (21 points, 13 rebound, four assists, one steal and block) though, Pat Connaughton has been the real surprise packet. Playing 28 minutes a game, he has posting impressive numbers across the box score with his best match coming in game two when he put up 18 points and nine boards to be one of the best value picks.
The Western conference actually has one competitive series, with the Nuggets and Spurs tied at 2-2. The Warriors, after overcoming a disappointing loss in game two, look to have the series against the Clippers sewn up. The Warriors, as usual, have had certain stars dominate for certain games. Meanwhile, the Clips have found a gem in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He drained the three that won the Clippers their only game and his 14 points per game have him on track for a successful NBA career.
Houston are embarrassing a Jazz side that would have fancied its chances. They lost games one and two by 32 and 20 respectively but brought a bit of fight in game three, going down by three. James Harden has broken the NBA and is dominating this series with 28 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists per game. And, despite starting 0-15 from the field in game three, came back to win the match for his side down the stretch.
The media is desperately trying to make something out of the Blazers/Thunder series, but they are missing something to slow down or stop the Blazers. They are good. Like really good. Not beat the Warriors good, but good none the less. Dame and CJ have been on fire and have kept the Thunder at arm’s length all series. But it’s their spread that has analysts considering their championship prospects. They are getting output from Kanter, Aminu, Harkless and co. at any point needed. They bat deep and look to have this series stitched up at 3-1.
Finally, as mentioned above, the Nuggets and Spurs are locked in an unpredictable fight. The Spurs have found a way, as they always do, while the Nuggets have a supremely talented, but for more inexperienced roster. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Murray are pretty much on an even keel so this series looks like it might come down who performs the best out of the Nuggets’ Malik Beasley (11 points, five rebounds and two assists) and the Spurs’ Derrick White (19 points, four rebounds and four assits).
Written by Brin DugganAFL, Latest, NBA