Wortho’s NBL Week 4 Preview

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Adelaide 36ers @ Brisbane Bullets

(Thursday, Nov 1st. 7:50pm AEDT)
$1.48 Adelaide, $2.67 Brisbane

Both teams are coming off a mixed weekend, going 1-1 in Round 3. It started on Thursday when the lowly Bullets defeated the previously-undefeated Perth Wildcats extracting revenge for the week previous in Perth. The Bullets had an even spread of scorers with five players reaching double figures with Cam Bairstow top scoring with 18 points. They followed it up on Saturday with a 86-78 loss to the Illawarra Hawks. Ex-Taipan Cam Gliddon was the best in a losing performance with 24 points on 8/14 from 3.

Thursday’s game was also the last game for Alonzo Gee. The 417-NBA game Florida native had struggled since joining the Bullets this season. The highly-touted import finished his NBL career with 4 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes just to highlight his struggles. Former Atlanta Hawk Lamar Patterson has been confirmed as his replacement.

Adelaide started Round 3 with a gritty 91-83 loss to the Cairns Taipans. The major talking point was the performance of Nathan Sobey. Sobei-wan-kanobi registered the first triple–double in 5 years going for 22 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.

They were then met with a horror travel day, arriving in Auckland at 1:30am with a 2pm tip-off that day. The 36ers were gallant but the desperate NZ Breakers ran off a 27-8 final quarter to defeat the exhausted visitors 114-94.

Keys to the Game

Adelaide
– Push transition
– Defend Brisbane’s 3-ball
– Expose Brisbane’s lack of depth in the bigs department

Brisbane
– Get Cadee going early
– Stay out of foul trouble
– Don’t turn the ball over

Tip
Brisbane are 2 import players down with there 3 import Stephen Holt struggling for form. Adelaide will be keen to avenge their loss to NZ and get back on track.
Adelaide 1-10

Illawarra Hawks @ Sydney Kings

(Friday, Nov 2nd. 7:50pm AEDT)
$1.38 Sydney, $3.17 Illawarra

Sydney Kings weren’t prepared for the fight that the Cairns Taipans gave them on Sunday. The Kings, fresh off their first win of the season in New Zealand, came home to show the Sydney faithful that improvements from their opening home loss to the 36ers in Round 1. They left the home crowd with more questions than answers as they put in an underwhelming performance to sneak past the Taipans in overtime 98-90.

Randle top-scored again with 24 points but it was the great post play of Daniel Kickert (19) and the huge shot making of Kevin Lisch (22) that helped topple the Taipans. For me, Andrew Bogut needs to be more involved on the offensive end. The Kings rely on him to do so much covering at the rim on the defensive end that they need to use him more offensively. He’s a great decision maker and while he has been affective at the high post I’d prefer to see him in the low post as he has a great left and right hook.

The biggest question was why wasn’t he on the court for the last possession of regulation? It allowed Melo Trimble to waltz to the rim for an uncontested lay-up to force OT. I guess we’ll never know!

Illawarra tamed the Bullets at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Saturday before showing a huge comeback only to fall short to Melbourne United on the Monday.

Coach Rob Beveridge has compiled a roster of players that have been discarded throughout the years and is working his magic to make them a very competitive outfit. ‘King Conk’ Brian Conklin has been exceptional this season. The reigning MVP of 2015 was part of an overly-scrutinised puzzle piece of the Hawks roster, but his work ethic and competitive spirit has been outstanding to date.

Keys to the Game

Hawks
– Conklin to attack Wear and Kickett
– Get Blanchfield going again
– Jett to lock down Randle

Kings
– Use Bogut more on offense
– More ball movement before iso ball
– Limit turnovers to stop transition baskets

Tip
The Kings need to play with the energy that they had in NZ in Round 2. They better not go in with the same attitude that they showed against the Taipans otherwise they will get rolled.
Kings 1-10

New Zealand Breakers @ Perth Wildcats

(Saturday, Nov 3rd. 3pm AEDT)
$1.34 Perth, $3.27 New Zealand

Well these two are no strangers to success and cracker games, having won 5 of the previous 6 championships that were typically played against one another.

Perth started Round 3 with an upset loss to Brisbane. The previously undefeated Wildcats looked sluggish from the get-go and a spry Bullets team took full advantage holding on for 100-96 victory.

The returning game against United on the Saturday was the game of the week. Now let’s get one thing straight. That wasn’t a charge on Casper Ware. Back-up Guard Mitch Norton slid under Casper, who drained a 10-foot floater only to have it waved away on what can only be described as a shocking call to send the game into overtime. From there Bryce Cotton and Terrico White did what they do and Red-Army celebrated a 101-96 win in the Jungle.

New Zealand, who had been struggling, took full advantage of a weary Adelaide 36ers team who were given a scheduling loss. The game previously slated as a night game was moved to 2pm for live TV. The only problem, the 36ers who were coming from Cairns, could only get in at 1:30 that morning and were quite clearly disadvantaged.

The Breakers used 27-8 final quarter run to dispose of the sleepy Sixers 114-94. Young Finn ‘Diesel’ Delany lived up to the hype with 27 points in 21 minutes. Reported that he had been working out with NZ basketball royalty during the week had paid dividends for NZ basketball’s ‘next big thing.’ Other struggling Breakers Armani Moore, Shawn Long and Corey Webster also had big games as they look to get their season back on track.

Keys to the game

NZ Breakers
– Imports to show up
– Webster to continue to get better
– Hush the red-army early

Perth
– Guard Pick & Roll action
– Cotton & White continue 1,2 scoring punch
– Get Steindl going off the bench

Tip
Webster, Abercrombie and Wesley have all had big games here and will need to again. Being the first appearance in the Jungle for the Breakers’ imports will be the biggest question. Also, how will Kevin Braswell go in his first attempt as coach there? My only question for Perth is will Terrico White show up after a great Round 3? Too many questions for NZ for me.
Perth 1-10

Melbourne United @ Cairns Taipans

(Saturday, Nov 3rd. 7:50pm AEDT)
$1.65 Melbourne United, $2.30 Cairns

Coach Mike Kelly will be scratching his head at the moment. The bottom of the ladder Taipans pushed highly fancied Sydney into overtime on Sunday where they showed a lot of passion and had big games from Newbill and Trimble. 48 hours prior, the Snakes had lost another home game to a misfiring Sixers team and showed no passion throughout.

Melo Trimble has been a star since debuting the season. Melo by name, Melo by nature had an ugly home game against the sixers registering 10 points on 4/15 shooting, 3 assists and 4 turnovers, but came alive against Sydney with 29 points including the lay-up to send it into overtime.

The Taipans now sit 1-3 and it wouldn’t be good for the regional team to go 0-3 at home to start the season. Devon Hall, the ACC all-defensive player and 2nd round draft pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder, needs to step up. His three ball has deserted him to start the season but he came help the Snakes with lock-down defense and rebounding against a talented United roster.

Melbourne was robbed in Perth plain and simple, on a horrible charge call to allow the game to go into overtime. A solid home win against an up and about Illawarra team was made even more significant with key personnel missing.

Chris Goulding who came off the bench against Perth due to the elbow to the face from Adelaide’s Anthony Drmic and it seemed to have fuelled the fire, as he was putting on a shooting display until injury struck. The collective Australian basketball public held their breath as CG43 clutched at his knee after minimal contact was made. He was carried off the court and we all hoped for the best. Fortunately light bone bruising was the outcome but he still looked uncomfortable on the sidelines against the Hawks on the Monday.

‘Money makin’ Mitch McCarron makes his return to FNQ after defecting from the Taipans at the end of last season. After declaring he was heading for Europe he found his way to the European shops of Lygon Street in the Melbourne CBD. McCarron, a fan favourite in Cairns, will be on the other side of the Orange army faithful for the first time.

Keys to the game

Melbourne
– Keep scoreboard pressure
– Defend Taipans 3-ball
– Get DJ Kennedy going

Cairns
– Use Jawai in the paint early and often
– Shoot open 3’s with confidence
– Make United make tough shots, no easy looks

Tip
It hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for United in the past. The Taipans will be desperate for a home win and with Goulding in doubt, Boone pulling up sore with an ankle complaint I think the Snakes can strike.
Taipans 1-10

Brisbane Bullets @ Adelaide 36ers – 9GO Game

(Sunday, Nov 4th. 2:50p.m EST)
$1.36 Adelaide, $3.28 Brisbane

This will be the second time that these two will do battle within the week. With Adelaide feeling comfortable at home they’ll be looking to run the Bullets off their feet.

Adelaide’s captain Nathan Sobey and Daniel Johnson have both been great this season, especially at home. Both are averaging around 20 points per game at home. The Sportsbet Megabet for this game is Sobey and Johnson to combine for 50+ points. If that happens, it pays $4.50.

Brisbane will hopefully have their new import Lamar Patterson in. When a new player is thrown into the rotation it can sometime be growing pains for the team, having to start from scratch offensively and defensively to catch the new guy up. On the plus side, Patterson is a better deep threat than the departed Alonzo Gee and looks to be a better scorer all-round.

The Bullets need Cammy Gliddon to continue his stellar form on the road. Last week he hit 8/14 from deep to lead his side in scoring. Jason Cadee is another coming into his own as the Bullets need both him and Gliddon to score consistently til import reinforcements arrive.

Keys to the game

Adelaide
– Run, Gun & have Fun
– Get the crowd into it early
– Limit Gliddon and Cadee’s impact early

Brisbane
– Don’t bail Adelaide out with fouling shooters
– Set good screens for your shooters
– Try and get Adelaide’s bigs in foul trouble

Tip
I like Adelaide at home and they typically put on a show. Like most games Adelaide is great with the overs, as they love a quick tempo game, which means a lot of possessions and a lot of points. Adelaide win into the OVERS

Sydney Kings @ Melbourne United

(Monday, Nov 5th. 7:50pm EST)
$1.67 Melbourne United, $2.26 Sydney Kings

Get out your popcorn and get ready for the show. This should be a cracker. The game of the round and a game the basketball public has been waiting for. The Sydney Kings, led by the Andrew’s (Gaze & Bogut), come home to Victoria to face the reigning champs Melbourne United.

These two had a little spice in a preseason game with Olympic roommates Bogut and Goulding getting into it after Bogut threw ex-footballer Craig Moller to the ground on a free throw.

For Melbourne they’ll be hoping their captain and Finals MVP Goulding gets up for the game. Coming off a bone bruise in the knee, United will need all hands on deck to take on this talented Sydney side.

Sydney will be coming off their all-NSW battle with ‘little brother’ Illawarra. Bogut who hails from Victoria, turned his back on United and his home state by signing with the Kings in the biggest signing in NBL history. He’ll be looking to have his biggest impact yet as the league’s biggest rivalry with some of the league’s biggest names go head-to-head for the first time this season.

Brad Newley has been down since his outburst in Adelaide and is looking to get back into form with his match-up with under achieving import DJ Kennedy. Newls, a two-time Olympian, is at his best in transition and attacking the rim. Randle and Lisch should be looking to exploit Kennedy at all times, as he hasn’t looked healthy yet.

Keys to the Game

Melbourne
– Boone/Pledger to win the battle with Bogut
– Must defend middle Pick & Roll with Randle/Bogut
– Newley to attack Kennedy

Sydney
– Let Bogut go to work
– Defend United’s shooters
– Must win the rebound count

Tip
For me this looks like the flip of the coin. The biggest match-up that could influence this games is between head coaches Andrew Gaze and Dean Vickerman. Deano is a championship winning coach while Gaze’s coaching has been sub-par through out his coaching tenure. While talent will make things happen, expect Vickerman to out-coach Andrew Gaze.
Melbourne 1-10

Markets

NBL markets here – odds subject to change.

What do you think?