Brisbane import Lamar Patterson’s Australian journey has lurched off to a troublesome start ahead of his NBL team’s ten-point win against the 36ers.
New import Lamar Patterson will be minus his well-travelled dog, but he joins a winning team after the Bullets’ surprised the Adelaide 36ers 108-98 in their NBL match at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Patterson is expected to suit up for the return clash in Adelaide on Sunday despite a brush with Australian customs officials for carrying a beloved pet in his hand luggage.
The American forward, who is a replacement for released import Alonzo Gee, arrived in Australia on Thursday but was detained by biosecurity officers.
A former NBA player with the Atlanta Hawks, Patterson was later released but his dog will be returned to the US.
Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis said there had been a miscommunication between the club, the player and airport staff when he began the first leg of his journey in the US.
On the domestic leg, he declared the dog and it was noted on his boarding pass, Lemanis said.
“Obviously going through customs and quarantine, that doesn’t sit so well,” the coach said.
“When he got to LAX no one said anything to him. It’s sorted now.”
Kiwi forward Reuben Te Rangi had a career high 29 points for the Bullets, and guard Adam Gibson (16 points) hit two big threes in the last quarter on Thursday to hold off the 36ers.
The 36ers were by far the more clinical outfit throughout the first half, but the Bullets hung on determinedly, and a bombing raid from Te Rangi and Gibson papered over some of the deficiencies in the Bullets’ makeup.
Adelaide’s Anthony Drmic had, until that point, been the most influential player on the court.
The 198cm forward had 14 points early in the second quarter and was threatening to go on with it until he barged into foul trouble. Drmic finished with 18.
Adelaide coach Joey Wright blamed sloppy defence and a high turnover rate for the loss.
“You can’t give up 60 points in a half to a team that’s not a high scoring team,” he said.
“The defence was too poor, and the turnovers are uncharacteristic of us.”