Franks, Johnson combine to down NBL Hawks

Robert Franks and Daniel Johnson have combined for 53 points to ensure Adelaide bounced back from last week's overtime loss to South East Melbourne to beat Illawarra 96-80 on the road.

In the absence of the NBL's lead scorer in Craig Randall II, who sat out of Thursday's contest with a bruised sternum, Franks and Johnson missed just seven shots between them to hand Illawarra their seventh consecutive defeat.

The 36ers were cruising with a healthy 12-point buffer as the third term began but a switch to zone defence by Illawarra stagnated Adelaide's consistent scoring run.

Illawarra went 9-0 and narrowed the deficit to just two midway through the term but that would be as close as they would get as Franks scored 13 points in 10 minutes before Johnson took over in the fourth.

Johnson and his 36ers went on a 20-4 run early in the final term following a timeout after both sides began the quarter hoisting triple after triple, none better than Tyler Harvey's four-point play from deep.

When Anthony Drmic hit a fade-away triple and Johnson bagged another putback inside the benches were cleared.

Adelaide prevailed by 16 points and finished the game with their highest-scoring quarter of the season.

Johnson tallied 28 points on 11-14 from the field, hitting four of his six three-point attempts and adding seven rebounds.

Franks had 25 points on 11-15 shooting, missing just the one shot from two-point range.

"From the pre-season as we went along, those guys have been super efficient," 36ers coach C.J. Bruton said of Johnson and Franks.

"How we're moving the ball (was) a little bit panicky here and there but when we've got it moving through a few hands to certain actions, we've looked really good.

"We need to continue to evolve there."

In the opening half, Adelaide's defence was steady, holding Illawarra to 38 per cent from the field and just two three-point makes from nine attempts.

The 36ers did well to get Franks one-on-one matchups and utilise his size and power over smaller defenders.

Their maximisation of the space created by the points-grabbing pair was on full show, leading to 13 team assists at the main break.

Overall, Adelaide shot at nearly 55 per cent from the field in the first half while the Hawks struggled at just 36 per cent, making five of their 15 three-point attempts.

The 36ers moved to three wins and three losses for the season while Illawarra slipped to one win and eight losses.