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R19 Report: Crocs triumph in record barnburner

The Townsville Crocodiles and Sydney Kings put on a record-breaking clinic of offensive basketball in the Crocs’ 126-123 overtime win in Townsville on Saturday. On paper it was the most inconsequential game of the season, yet it was probably the most exhilarating; and it summed up everything the NBL has worked toward in the landmark 2015/16 season. There have not been more points in an NBL game since December of 2008; with big scoring runs, clutch shot-making, over a dozen rim-rocking dunks and four 25+ point contributors highlighting the exhibition-type affair. The victorious Crocs were led by both Omar Samhan (25 points, 13 rebounds) and Clint Steindl (25 points on 8/15 FGs), while Jason Cadee (game-high 32 points, seven assists) and Josh Childress (31 points, 12 rebounds, five assists) steered the ship for Sydney. Post-game Crocs coach Shawn Dennis reflected on the game as a good stepping stone for next season. “To watch the evolution of the group over the year, we have gotten better and better – particularly in our last half-a-dozen games,” he said. “You’ve got to feel good about the way the team has evolved as the year has gone on, it’s a fitting victory… we hung in there and contributed. “It’d be fantastic if we had another month to play, I’m sure the players would love another month as well. The season seems to go so quickly and it’s quite a surreal feeling that we’re at the end of it.” The final game of the year for two teams guaranteed to miss playoffs is a formula for one thing – points – and the tempo was hot from the get-go. Six Sydney turnovers was the difference between both sides after one quarter, but the visitors poured in 28 points in the second quarter – which included 10 consecutive made shots between the teams – to level things at 50-50 by the main break. And that’s when Clint Steindl and the Crocs went ballistic, scorching the hardwood with transition points to stretch the margin out to 89-75 with a quarter to play. From Illawarra-type offensive potency to sputtering worse than a 1950s diesel tractor, the Crocs surrendered their margin as quickly as they had built it. Headed by Childress and Cadee, the Kings dug in to chip the margin back with threes to the Kings co-captain, while fellow import Marcus Thornton sent the game into overtime with a cold-blooded corner three with just one second remaining. While points typically dry up in overtime periods, the offence actually managed to lift; in fact, it was the single-highest scoring overtime period (31 points) in the history of the NBL. The Crocs simply made more plays when the chips were down, including Jordair Jett’s game-breaking triple to make it a two-possession game early in the period. It may not have been a game for the coaches, but both sides had their final dose of fun in the final game of otherwise below-par seasons.   TOWNSVILLE CROCODILES 126 (Samhan 25, Steindl 25, Jett 21) SYDNEY KINGS 123 (Cadee 32, Childress 31, Brandt 19) BOX SCORE
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