Preview: 36ers v Hawks (28/10/12)
Tomorrow the undefeated Hawks travel to Radelaide to take on the undefeated-at-home 36ers. It should be the game of the round and we will know a lot more about each team by the end of it. Both Wollongong and Adelaide have only beaten bottom 4 teams so far this season. The Hawks have beaten Townsville, Cairns and Sydney while Adelaide has overcome Melbourne and Cairns. Adelaide's only loss was to reigning champion New Zealand away. Here will be the keys to the game.
2 HARD 2 GUARD
Adris Deleon will be super keen to perform well against former team mates Adam Gibson and Jason Cadee. Gibbo and Mungo will know Deleon's game well but stopping him will be another matter. Adelaide has not totally contained any of the 3 point guards it has faced so far (Braswell, Jackson, Wilson) and will need to work hard to make sure Deleon doesn't get going early.
DJ and Schensch should prove a handful height-wise for the Hawks but Wollongong's bigs are physical and will frustrate Adelaide's Twin Towers. DJ particularly can drop his bundle when he gets man-handled and the Hawks will know this. Schenscher showed improved signs on offense last week, mainly thanks to Jason Cadee feeding him some absolute gimmes. Big Luke has been so unimpressive on offense that many have (me included) have overlooked his defensive work. Schenscher isn't intimidating by nature on D (doesn't rebound like Karl Malone or swat shots like Dikembe Mutombo) but he nevertheless contributes just by almost getting in the way. Big Red is leading the league in boards and blocks despite playing just over 21min a game. His per 40 numbers are as below
Confusing the above is the fact that Schensch has the worst +/- for the team at -4. This is largely due to the missed baskets and turnovers, something he improved on last week.
WATCH THE 3
For whatever reason, Adelaide has a long history of not respecting certain long range shooters. Nearly every Hawk is competent from distance and Adelaide needs to ensure it respects any player behind the 3pt line. Eight- yes eight- Hawks hit a triple last week if you needed some further proof.
Mitch Creek is slowly building a nice season. It's just a damn shame about that NZ game. Creek leads the team for +/-at an incredible +21 and is proving to be an important glue guy. Creek plays hard D, scores in transition and is being more selective with his shots (75% FG). Adelaide is still tinkering with it's rotations but it's clear Creek is a key to Adelaide's success. He's played a role in both wins and gave nothing (ie 0pts, 3 fouls) in the pants-pulled-down game against the Breakers.
My Tip: I'm 3-0 this year and am therefore building confidence. Both teams are yet to have a big win and this one gives both teams a chance to claim a top 4 scalp. Wollongong were hot in the preseason and have continued that form. Adelaide built a formidable roster on paper that appears to be developing quickly. For the fact that it's at home and that you could see the confidence of individuals (in particular Schensch and Cadee) develop last week, I'm going for the "Homer" pick.
Adelaide by 3