PHOENIX and Mitch Creek fans were on the edge of their seats for the team's NBL season opener.
In a tense match, Creek's Phoenix went into double overtime against the 36ers, on Sunday afternoon.
Captain Creek was outstanding, scoring 30 points in his team's loss.
Phoenix looked all but defeated with four minutes to go and the scoreline sitting at 77-85 in the final term.
Creek combining with teammates Yanni Wetzell and Keifer Sykes brought the team back to level in the final seconds to force the overtime.
Speaking to the media after the game, Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell thought his team looked "a little rusty".
"Particularly at the offensive end," he said.
"I thought we really didn't have a lot of rhythm.
"I thought we had an extraordinary rough night shooting. We left a lot of points at the free-throw line."
Phoenix managed eight of 30 three-point shooting and 22 of 36 free-throw shooting.
"There were some really good looks from behind the arch early," Mitchell said.
"Those are shots I expect our team to make. We've got a little bit of work to do."
The Phoenix would walk away from the game knowing it was theirs to take - but also displayed the makings of a solid team with the fightback to force the overtimes.
"I thought Yanni was really productive from an offensive standpoint but I thought defensively he was a bit disappointing early in the game," Mitchell said of the debutant.
I thought we had an extraordinary rough night shooting. We left a lot of points at the free throw line.Simon Mitchell
"In the pick-and-roll defence, he played a bit deep and didn't put as much pressure as he could have on those guys coming off.
"But he's a guy in his first professional game. He's going to be a hell of a player.
"I think Keifer is a better player than what he showed. We had some really good looks in the first quarter and a lot of those were on the back of Keifer. He's going to get better and better in this league."
Creek said during the first overtime Phoenix had a "real chance to win the game".
"We have second chance shots and opportunities," he said. "We missed a couple of good looks."
36's young star Josh Giddey showed his talent and heart in the overtime.
Face planting the court - Giddey proved unstoppable while sporting a fat lip after he came off the bench to inspire the side to a 116-108 victory.
"Josh is a good player and did some wonderful things tonight," Mitchell said.
"I look forward to watching his career when he gets the hell out of the NBL."
Creek showed why some experts have picked him as a potential NBL MVP this season eight rebounds and six assists to go along with his 30 points. The Phoenix get an opportunity to bounce back against the 36ers in Adelaide on Wednesday night, before travelling to Perth to play the Wildcats on Sunday.
Creek returned from the United States to play for the South East Melbourne Phoenix for the 2019-2020 NBL season.
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