Wortho’s NBL Week 3 Preview

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Perth Wildcats at Brisbane Bullets

Thursday Oct 25, 7:50pm AEDT
Match: $1.48 Perth, $2.67 Brisbane
Handicap: $1.90 Perth -4.5, $1.90 Brisbane +4.5

The Perth Wildcats are the hottest team in the NBL right now. After a huge win on the road against Adelaide to start the season they backed it up with smackings of Illawarra and Brisbane at home.

Brisbane also got off to a great start, winning on the road in New Zealand before faltering to the Taipans at home, then making the trek across country to be pistol-whipped by the Wildcats.

Keys

Brisbane

  • Make someone but Cotton beat you
  • Dominate both ends of the glass
  • Alonzo Gee and Cadee to fire

Perth

  • Keep feeding Cotton the ball
  • Beat them on the O Boards
  • Don’t give them confidence early

It’s tough to beat someone twice in a row but last week, Adelaide proved it’s do-able. I’m not confident with this Brisbane Bullets line up: Alonzo Gee needs to get his ‘A’ into ‘G’ before we ‘C’ the end of him.

Stats

  • Perth is the highest scoring team in the NBL with 96 points per game while Brisbane is the lowest at 76 ppg.
  • Wildcats are also the best defensive team in the league allowing 75 per game while Brisbane is allowing 83 per game.
  • Perth is the best shooting team (51%) while Brisbane is currently the worst (38.3%).

My Prediction: Wildcats by 11

Adelaide 36ers @ Cairns Taipans

Friday Oct 26, 7:50pm AEDT
Match: $1.78 Adelaide, $2.05 Cairns
Handicap: Adelaide -1.5, $1.86 Cairns +1.5

Adelaide came back to reality, falling to the defending champs in Melbourne by 3 points. They had secured another huge win against Sydney to start the round and looked like the same 36ers team that was running over people last season. Sobey and Johnson continue to lead from the front for this group, with Wiley finding his feet and providing energy a la Mitch Creek last season.

Cairns also faltered last week against a gritty Illawarra group. Having disposed of Brisbane on the road, the Taipans squandered a chance to go 2-0 on the season and managed to break the longest home winning streak on opening night in Australian sports history. The Taipans had won their home opener for the past 17 seasons but came out with a lack lustre defensive effort against a wounded Hawks team.

Keys

Adelaide

  • Penetrate against Cairns defence
  • Get stops and run
  • Defend Melo Trimble & DJ Newbill

Cairns

  • Play defence with some intensity
  • Post Nate Jawaii in front of the rim
  • Look after the basketball

Cairns likes to play upbeat basketball but beware of doing this against the masters of quick, up-tempo basketball. Melo Trimble needs more help from Hall and Loughton, especially with the 3-ball, but it will take a back seat to Cairns as a team committing to the defensive end. I’d look at the overs on this game – it should be a shoot out at the O.K Corral.

Stats

  • Adelaide has won more times in Cairns than any other team in the past 4 years.
  • Daniel Johnson has surpassed 20 points in 3 out of the last 4 games in Cairns including 32 last year in round 2.
  • Taipans shoot more 3’s than anyone else (31) per game while Adelaide shoot the least (20).

My prediction: Adelaide by 15

Melbourne United @ Perth Wildcats

Saturday Oct 27, 3:00pm AEDT
Match: $1.65 Perth, $2.25 Melbourne United
Handicap: $1.90 Perth -2.5, $1.90 Melbourne United +2.5

Melbourne United snuck past Adelaide at home last week and enters Round 3 in second place at 2-1. Melbourne lost assistant coach Simon Mitchell, who was announced as the new head coach of the newest franchise, South East Melbourne. They quickly replaced him and upgraded their coaching ranks by bringing in New Zealand national team head coach Paul Henare.

Perth, coming off a cross-country trip from Brisbane, will be relying on the Red Army to give them some extra energy against the waiting defending champs. Perth have piled on the points in their first two home games this season, averaging 94.5 ppg and an average winning margin of 27.5 points.

Keys

Melbourne

  • Slow tempo and take crowd out of it
  • Casper Ware to show up
  • Everyone to buy in on defence

Perth

  • Terrico White outplays his opponent
  • Perth force turnovers
  • Angus Brandt and Tom Jervis curve Boone’s influence

While Perth has been dominant to start the season so far, Melbourne should prove to be more resistance than previous opponents. United should be happy to be sitting at 2-1 because to the basketball eye they haven’t clicked yet. DJ Kennedy, Casper, Goulding and McCarron are yet to get on the same page. When they do it will ring alarm bells for the rest of the comp.

Stats

  • United have beaten Perth in the last 2 meetings.
  • Perth is the only remaining undefeated team at home this season.
  • Coaches head to head: Trevor Gleeson, Perth (10 wins), Dean Vickerman, United (9 wins).

My Prediction: Melbourne by 1 point

Brisbane Bullets @ Illawarra Hawks

Saturday Oct 27, 7:50pm AEDT
Match: $1.53 Illawarra, $2.51 Brisbane
Handicap: $1.86 Illawarra -3.5, $1.94 Brisbane +3.5

The second game of the week for the Bullets. If they lose to Perth on Thursday night this becomes a must-win game staring down the barrel of a potential 1-5 start. The Bullets had a busy offseason, bringing in fringe Australian Boomers players Jason Cadee, Cam Gliddon and Matt Hodgeson, alongside NZ Tall Black captain Mika Vukona.

Illawarra stunned the Cairns Taipans in Round 2, a win that snapped Cairns’ 17-year home opener streak, which was the longest current streak in Australian sports. With AJ Ogilvy sitting out with an ankle injury, 20-year veteran Dave Andersen was injected into the line up. It proved to have greater balance for the visitors as it spread the Taipans defence and allowed Cedric Jackson, Todd Blanchfield and Jordair Jett to penetrate the seams.

Keys

Brisbane

  • Jason Cadee to get shots early
  • Shut down Todd Blanchfield
  • Hodgeson to stay out of foul trouble

Illawarra

  • Aggressive offense early
  • Work for Blanchfield to get open looks
  • Continue to junk up the defence (man and zone)

Alarm bells might be going off in Brisbane if they are 1-5 after the weekend. In particular, the pressure will be on head coach Andrej Lemanis. He’s been underwhelming as head coach of Brisbane since returning to the competition. After two years with the wooden spoon, could the Australian national team head coach survive a disastrous start to what was suppose to be a rebound season?

Stats

  • Bullets last win in Illawarra was Feb 2008, over 10 years ago.
  • The Hawks have scored 106, 105 & 104 in their last 3 home games against the Bullets and won those by a total of 58 points. 
  • Going back to last season, the Hawks have lost there past 3 games at home. They have never lost four in a row under the coaching of Rob Beveridge.

My prediction: Hawks by 3

Adelaide 36ers @ New Zealand Breakers

Sunday Oct 28, 12:20pm AEDT
Match: $1.69 New Zealand, $2.18 Adelaide
Handicap: $1.94 New Zealand -2.5, $1.86 Adelaide +2.5

Adelaide are definitely getting their frequent flyer miles this week. Going from Cairns to New Zealand is a tough travel schedule, but coach Joey Wright doesn’t want to hear any excuses. Known for his grittiness and being straightforward makes him the most polarising coach in the NBL. Personally I love his passion and Adelaide is going to need his leadership here as he coaches game 450 in the NBL.

New Zealand currently sits on the bottom of the NBL ladder. They beat the defending champs in Melbourne but have yet to win a home game at Spark Arena. Brisbane and Sydney have both registered their only wins for the season at the hands of the Breakers in front of the passionate Breaker faithful.

Keys

Adelaide

  • Up-tempo game
  • DJ and Sobey to show maturity in new leadership role
  • Guard as a team especially after they switch

NZ

  • Share the ball
  • Shoot the 3 ball at a better percentage
  • Block out and get the defensive boards

New Zealand looked like the best team going back to the NBL x NBA games in the preseason. To this point they have been bitterly disappointing. The ball movements and great sets have taken a backwards step to stand around 1-on-1 basketball. Adelaide will be coming off a trip to Cairns and need to jump them early.

Stats

  • Joey Wright coaching his 450th NBL game. He stands 5th all time in games coached with only Brian Kerle at 456 games and Brian Goorjian at 735 games above him with better winning percentages.
  • NZ are on their 2nd biggest losing streak at home in Breakers history with 5 consecutive home loses. (Inc. 3 from last season).
  • The 36ers have won their past 3 games against the Breakers.

My Prediction: NZ by 7

Cairns Taipans @ Sydney Kings

Sunday Oct 28, 2:50pm AEDT
Match: $1.29 Sydney, $3.66 Cairns
Handicap: $1.94 Sydney -7.5, $1.86 Cairns +7.5

A week in basketball is a long time to wait. Cairns riding high from victory in week 1 were sent back to reality in week 2 at the hands of a hot Illawarra Hawks team. The match up of Nate Jawai against Bogut will be the one we will all be waiting for. The Bamaga big man is one of the few that can match Bogut with physicality. Cairns needs to use his presence more and look to get Bogut in potential foul trouble.

Sydney rode into New Zealand and got their first win of the season. Bogut looked like a man possessed as he was dominate in the first 10 minutes. The Kings currently boast 6 players averaging double figure points, more than anyone else in the league.  

Keys

Cairns

  • Shoot a lot of transition 3’s at a good percentage
  • Get Nate Jawaii touches in front of the rim
  • Play a lot better team defence.

Sydney

  • Work through Bogut
  • Energy off the bench
  • Get matched up in transition against a gun happy Taipans team

Tough ask for the Taipans here. Melo Trimble has been an absolute star averaging 30 points per game in his first 2 outings. Expect Jerome Randle to take this one personal, as he still wants to be known as the big dog in the point guard position.

Stats

  • Andrew Gaze has more wins over Cairns than any other club (6).
  • Sydney have won their past 6 home games against Cairns.
  • The Taipans have never won at Qudos Bank Arena.

 My Prediction: Kings by 12

Illawarra Hawks @ Melbourne United

Monday Oct 28, 7:50pm AEDT
Match: $1.31 Melbourne United, $3.46 Illawarra
Handicap: $1.90 Melbourne United -6.5, $1.90 Illawarra +6.5

Illawarra came off a turbulent week and brushed aside outside influences and injury to knock off Cairns in their season opener. Import workhorse Brian Conklin came back on the court after what looked like a serious ankle injury to help lift his team to a victory as well as a career shooting night from Todd Blanchfield.

Melbourne will be making the trip back from Perth. Poetic justice after Illawarra had to go to Perth following their 4OT thriller in the Gong in round 1. DJ Kennedy made a success return after missing the NZ game with 14 points and 7 rebs.

Keys

Hawks

  • Shoot the 3 ball consistently again
  • Conklin to attack United’s 4 men
  • Force United turnovers

United

  • Casper Ware please stand up
  • Look after the basketball
  • Take away Illawarra’s easy points (Layups, FT’s, uncontested shots, O Boards)

Look we aren’t going to have the same game as we saw in round 1 this season with the quadruple OT thrilla in the Illa. Both teams are coming off a game already this week. Melbourne United depth could be the difference in this one as the Hawks are still nursing injuries to key personnel.

Stats

  • This will be the first game back for David Andersen who won a championship last time he played in Melbourne Arena.
  • Coaches head to head: Rob Beveridge 5 wins, Dean Vickerman 4 wins.
  • These are the two best current rebounding teams in the competition. Melbourne (46.33 rpg) and Illawarra (40.67 rpg).

My Prediction: Melbourne by 10

Odds subject to change.

All NBL Round 3 markets here.

What do you think?