Weekly ReviewThe Seoul Samsung Thunders were the worst team last season, finishing with an 11-43 record. But this season, they are already 19-13 and are sharing third place with the Anyang KGC.
The Thunders have now extended their winning streak to five by winning all three games last week. They first started with a 85-80 win over their Seoul rival SK Knights on Tuesday and then edged defending champion and current league No. 1 Ulsan Mobis Phoebus 73-72 on Thursday. On Sunday, the Thunders beat the Incheon ET Land Elephants 95-79.
The victory over the Phoebus was especially meaningful because it was the Thunders’ first win to the Phoebus since Jan. 10, 2012, and a break from their 23-game losing streak, which was a KBL record for most consecutive losses to a single team.
But the Thunders’ rally will face a tough challenge this week as they meet No. 2 Goyang Orion Orions away on Wednesday, followed by another away game against No. 5 Jeonju KCC Egis, who are just 0.5 games behind them.
The Orions are coming off a 92-66 win over the Busan KT Sonicboom to end their four-game losing streak, while the Egis are on a three-game winning streak. They have not lost the last eight games at home.
The No. 6 Wonju Dongbu Promy are also looking to stretch their three game winning streak this week against the Elephants on Thursday and the Changwon LG Sakers on Saturday.
The Sonicboom are desperately in need of a win after losing the last six games. Their attempt to end the losing streak will not be easy as they face No. 1 Phoebus away on Friday and host No. 3 KGC on Sunday. The Sonicboom have not won a single game in their last three encounters against the Phoebus and KGC this season.
The Knights should win against the league worst Sakers tonight to end their three game losing streak as they meet the Phoebus on Sunday.
The No. 8 Elephants are also looking to end their two-game losing streaks after former captain Ricardo Powell joined. They have three games this week against the Promy, the KGC and the Orions.
Andre Emmett joined the Egis as the fifth pick in the foreign player draft this July. He was the only player below the 193-centimeter (6-foot-4) dividing line among those taken in the first round draft.
Since then, Emmett has proven why he is the top among “small players.” In the Egis’ three-game winning streak last week, the 32-year-old American averaged 29 points, 5.6 rebounds and three assists per game.
In the game against the Seoul SK Knights on Sunday, Emmett bagged 17 points alone in the fourth quarter to lift the Egis to a 73-72 victory.
The 1.91-meter guard is currently third in the league in scoring after averaging 22.15 points per game, but he is the No. 1 among foreigners who are shorter than 193 centimeters.
Emmett’s scoring can further expand in the future as he doesn’t have to worry about getting rebounds. Interestingly, whenever Emmett got 10 rebounds or more, the Egis lost.
The Egis now have twin towers after center Herbert Hill joined the team through a trade. The Egis and Elephants swapped Hill and Ricardo Powell. This means that the Egis have 2.21-meter center Ha Seung-jin, who is the No. 1 in rebounds among Korean players, and Hill, who is the top in blocks and fourth in rebounds in the league.
Now Emmett, who previously played with the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, is attacking from the perimeter and with 3-pointers.
Against the Sonicboom on Saturday, Emmett went 4-for-7 in 3-pointers, tying his seasonal record on Dec. 13 against the Elephants for most 3-pointers made. On Sunday, he got three 3-pointers against the Knights.
Player in focus:
Andre Emmett (Jeonju KCC Egis)
The Ulsan Mobis Phoebus not only lost the game to the Seoul Samsung Thunders on Thursday at their Dongchun Gymnasium in Ulsan, but the game was marred by a fan throwing a full carton of milk onto the court.
With the Phoebus trailing 56-45 during the third quarter, a Phoebus fan threw a milk carton onto the court as he was annoyed by the referee’s decision on Phoebus forward Cuthbert Victor. With just one minute and 15 seconds left to the third quarter, Victor was given a technical foul as the referee ruled the American made an unnecessary appeal after he committed a foul. While Victor was looking at the Phoebus bench for help, a milk carton was thrown from the stand from behind the Phoebus bench.
Although no one was hit by the carton, milk spread all over the court and forced the game to a halt. While the Phoebus staff was busy wiping up the milk, the man who threw the milk was escorted from the gymnasium.
After Thunders forward Moon Tae-young slipped and lost possession of the ball to Phoebus guard Yang Dong-geun, and the score was narrowed to 60-55, the referee stopped the game to clean the court again.
Milk carton thrown onto court interrupts game