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Phoenix rough and rusty in opening loss

South East Melbourne coach Simon Mitchell lamented his side’s “extraordinary rough” shooting performance after their brutal 116-108 double-overtime loss to the Adelaide 36ers.

Phoenix’s scheming defence forced 19 turnovers but it was a different story at the other end.

The Sixers were more accurate from the field (55 per cent to 42.4) and the free throw line (80.6 to 61.1) than Phoenix, who connected on 26.7 from three-point territory.

“I thought we had an extraordinarily rough night shooting,” Mitchell said.

“I thought we looked a little rusty and didn’t have a lot of rhythm.

“We were clunky in our half-court set.

“We left a lot of points at the free throw line, had some really good looks from behind the arc early and those are shots I expect our team to make.”

Phoenix captain Mitch Creek (30 points) was brilliant as always, while newcomers Yanni Wetzell (24 points, 10 boards) and Keifer Sykes (18 points, 11 assists) caught the eye.

In Mitchell’s eyes though, there is plenty of improvement left in the duo.

“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 2.08m tall debutant.

“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.”

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