An ok week on the tipping front during Round 2, finishing with three out of five and bringing our total to 7/10 for the 2017/18 NBL Season thus far. Let’s hope we can continue rolling through the rounds.
Thursday 19th October
New Zealand Breakers vs Sydney Kings (5.30pm AEDT)
These two teams prepare to face off for the second time after the Breakers got the win over the Kings in the last round. It was a game that saw Kirk Penney remind people that he is still one of the great shooters and the Kings let one slip that they should have won.
The Breakers had Penney (25pts on 7/10 shooting, 6/9 from deep), as mentioned, turn up to play in this game and they also had solid scoring from DJ Newbill (22pts on 8/17 shooting). However they got no scoreboard return from Thomas Abercrombie who only managed 3pts in this game and only took four shots. The Breakers also only finished with 10 assists for the game showing that their main issue still hasn’t been addressed as the season starts, creating for each other.
The Kings had good returns from Kevin Lisch, Perry Ellis and even Travis Leslie showed glimpses of what he will provide them throughout the season but Brad Newley had a rather underwhelming game with only 11pts on 3/10 shooting.
Sydney go into this rematch without Kevin Lisch who is going to be sidelined with a calf injury for eight weeks. They bring in Jeremy Kendle who spent time with the Brisbane Bullets towards the end of last season.
The loss of Lisch is a big one for the Kings, he is their leader, floor general, main defender and key cog in the machine. They will need another big game from their imports, Newley and Jason Cadee off the bench will need to get hot again.
The Breakers will be buoyed by their win against this team last week and Abercrombie can’t have as disappointing a showing again. He will need support though which means Penney, Newbill or even Edgar Sosa will need to join in on the scoreboard.
Even without Lisch the Kings have more firepower and better team play, don’t get me wrong Lisch is the biggest loss the Kings could have but Newley has more support on the Kings team than Abercrombie does on the Breakers – Kings to get the win.
Friday 20th October
Brisbane Bullets vs Cairns Taipans (7.30pm AEDT)
The Bullets are in the same position as Melbourne United and the Sydney Kings were in a couple of weeks ago, head to the US and play a NBA team and then fly back and be ready for the upcoming round of the NBL. We saw in both of those teams that jet-lag/fatigue played a part in the second half of their games so it is reasonable to expect the Bullets to also tire in the second half.
The Taipans are without Nate Jawai as mentioned in last rounds preview, however they have brought in his replacement – former Melbourne United big man Chris Patton. He should be able to step in right away and help out in the rebounding battles and he offers a pretty nice touch around the ring on the offensive end too.
Scoochie Smith has been underwhelming during the Taipans games thus far and he won’t get it any easier against Travis Trice. Although he isn’t alone in the underwhelming import column with Stephen Holt of the Bullets also not having a great start to the season.
The thing that Cairns has going for them is their defense and the Bullets don’t have the number of weapons that could challenge them like other teams. If you stop Kickert and Trice, the Bullets are going to have a tough time putting a challenging score on the board. The problem is that the Taipans are also offensively challenged.
A 50-50 game but Cairns defense along with a, potentially, jet-lagged second half by the Bullets should see the Taipans come away with a tight win.
Perth Wildcats vs Melbourne United (9.30pm AEDT)
This is being touted as game of the round and for good reason – Casper Ware (Melb) versus Bryce Cotton (Perth).
Melbourne could also be boosted by the return of Chris Goulding as well as Casey Prather being fit enough to suit up for this game after an injury scare last week. This will be a fast paced game and will see plenty of scoring from both sides. It will be all about watching individual matchups – Ware v Cotton, Goulding v Martin and Prather v Tokoto.
The Wildcats have started both of their games, so far this season, off slowly before turning it on in the second half and yet, they have only won by ten points each game when it could have been much more.
Melbourne’s two wins have come against the Adelaide 36ers and they ran over the top of them in the final quarter during Round 2 but it was the backup players that got them there. Kyle Adnam had a great game, finishing with a career high 23pts (6/8 from deep), off the bench and provided a big spark for United.
Not only is this game of the round but it is also a 50-50 contest with both teams having electric starting fives and some depth on the bench. Being in Perth though, that home crowd should be fired up for this game and the Wildcats will get by for the win.
Saturday 21st October
Adelaide 36ers vs Sydney Kings (5.30pm AEDT)
These teams did battle in Round 1 after the Kings did their trip to the US to take on the Utah Jazz and it was the 36ers who ran over the top of them in the second half.
Seven of the 36ers players scored in double figures to Sydney’s five but the supporting cast of Adelaide provided more and got them over the line. Mitch Creek, who has been playing fantastically to start this season, had a great game against the Kings in Round 1 providing scoring, rebounding and energy his entire time on the court. Daniel Johnson also played well, finishing with 16pts and 7rbds while getting to the free throw line 13 times. He is one that the Kings will need to stop, he has the size advantage over the entire starting five of the Kings and look for Adelaide to get the ball into him early to get him going.
The 36ers will need to stop two players, with no Kevin Lisch the Kings will be looking to Perry Ellis to continue his form from the game against Illawarra last weekend (33pts – 11/15 shooting, 4/5 from three) and join Brad Newley as the focal points of their offense. Newley scored 24pts the last time these two teams met and the 36ers will be trying to make him a jump shooter throughout the game rather than allow him to slash and cut to the basket.
The 36ers will be hoping to atone for back-to-back losses at home against Melbourne and a loss against the Kings doesn’t seem all that likely. Look for Creek and Johnson to have a fast start and the Kings to be playing catch up for the remainder of the game. 36ers to get the win.
Sunday 22nd October
Melbourne United vs New Zealand Breakers (3pm AEDT)
The first matchup between these two teams for the season and the first home game for Melbourne for the season. They will have to “come-down” from a potentially fiery game on Friday night over in Perth.
New Zealand will have played against the Kings on Thursday and if the tip above is correct, will be coming off a loss. Their lack of a playmaker will be even more obvious against United and their lack of athleticism will also be shown as a glaring weakness against this fast paced team.
Melbourne in a canter in this game.
Illawarra Hawks vs Brisbane Bullets (5pm AEDT)
The Hawks didn’t have a great Round 2, losing both of their games and there was one main reason why in both of them – AJ Ogilvy.
The Hawks big man only played 15mins against the Wildcats and 20mins against the Kings, his team are not going to win many games with their star player only on the court for half the game, or less.
Illawarra needs Ogilvy on the court for his offensive abilities as well as the way defenses gravitate towards him and allow open three’s to the perimeter players and driving lanes for players like Rotnei Clarke and Demetrius Conger.
The Bullets are likely to play Tom Jervis plenty in this game to try to curtail Ogilvy because Daniel Kickert isn’t strong on the defensive end of the court or in the rebounding battles. It will then come down to which of the two – Jervis or Ogilvy – pick up the quick fouls and get under each others skins the fastest.
As mentioned in the Bullets earlier game, against Cairns, it comes down to the offensive production of Travis Trice and Kickert for them to put a challenging score on the board. Stephen Holt is also yet to come to the party through this season and this could be a game for him to break out and kick start his season.
The Hawks playing at home will want to get their season off and get their first win, this is the game they can do it in.
Cairns Taipans vs Perth Wildcats (7pm AEDT)
Both teams will have already played and this game will be similar to the Melbourne United v New Zealand Breakers game in-so-far as one team is overly athletic and the other is not.
The Taipans defense will only be able to do so much against this team, that doesn’t play too many slow half-court sets. The Wildcats prefer to run and gun and the Taipans, although good defensively, isn’t great in transition.
JP Tokoto, Bryce Cotton and Lucas Walker will all provide some highlight plays in this game as the Wildcats take it out.
Tips for Round 3:
New Zealand v SYDNEY
Brisbane v CAIRNS
PERTH v Melbourne
ADELAIDE v Sydney
MELBOURNE v New Zealand
ILLAWARRA v Brisbane
Cairns v PERTH