Magic Martin puts Hawks in reach of play-offs

BASKETBALL

Adelaide coach Joey Wright wasn't the least bit surprised to see Wollongong playmaker Rhys Martin emerge as the best player on the court last Friday at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Martin was superb in his team's 91-89 triumph, scoring a career-high 32 points and also tallying six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Before arriving at the Hawks six years ago, Martin had played under Wright when he coached the Brisbane Bullets.

He has followed his career with Wollongong and rates the 28-year-old Queenslander as one of the league's best at his position.

"I know what he can do. I coached him for a couple of years and I know what his abilities are, and he did a really good job of coming out tonight and showing it," Wright said after the two-point loss.

"He was tough. Every time they needed a big bucket he was kind of the go-to guy. He really led them and took the pressure off [Hawks teammate] Rotnei [Clarke].

"[Adelaide guard] Gary [Ervin] did an extremely good job on Rotnei, and Rhys was the one who countered that and came back and hit some tough shots. He definitely carried them this game. It wasn't easy shots either.

"He hit some tough ones."

Martin knocked down 13/20 field goals, including 3/6 from three-point range.

He claimed that he simply took what the defence gave him.

"Usually when I penetrate the seam, there's an extra guy rotating and I'm going to have to make the pass out to guys, but that didn't come a lot tonight," Martin said.

"Once we broke that first line we were able to get on the rim and finish with easy lay-ups."

While Martin was outstanding, Clarke took over in crunch time, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 21 points - right around his season average.

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