Preview: 36ers vs Breakers (12/10/12)
1/ No Wilko.
Gary Wilkinson had a habit of torching 36ers teams and no-one will be gladder to see the back of him than Marty Clarke. Will Hudson provides this 36ers team far less headaches than Wilko would have.
2/ Some size in the backcourt.
Instead of being forced to defend Ced Jax with Chris Warren, Adelaide will likely throw Adam Gibson and Mitch Creek on the Breakers star import for decent stretches. Jackson is often a handful, but at least Adelaide has some strong defenders to make him work harder for his points.
3/ A verstaile frontcourt.
Schenscher will cause NZ some trouble inside, DJ (pictured) will cause them some trouble outside and Anthony Petrie, Adelaide's new enforcer, will strike fear into the hearts of every Kiwi oncourt or at the game.1
Steve Weigh's big night out last week will cause the Breakers to carefully consider where they focus their defensive attention. The Breakers got smashed on the boards by Perth last week, with Hudson and Pledger combining for 3 rebounds. Adelaide starts with the Twin Towers set-up and should in theory be a bigger handful for their bigs to deal with.
Marty Clarke will likely have been most concerned about these things this week.
Clarke has never lead a 36ers team to victory over a Breakers team. His cattle is a lot better this season but has his counterpart (and fellow Boomers assistant coach) Andrej Lemanis worked out how to stop Clarke's game style?
It's expected New Zealand will come back hard from last week's loss to rival Perth, where they were embarrassed on their homecourt. It seems unfathomable that they'd start the season with 2 straight losses, both on their homecourt. They will come out fired up.
New Zealand loves putting up the 3 and still has plenty of guys who like to shoot it. Webster, Jackson, Corletto and Bruton all took 4 or more attempts last week and if a couple of them get going it will make it a tough night out for Adelaide.
Adelaide doesn't have a perfect matchup to guard Thomas Abercrombie and he'll make Steve Weigh work very hard on the defensive end. Many are tipping Abercrombie to take his game to another level this year. Adelaide fans will be hoping it doesn't begin tomorrow.
My heart says Adelaide but my head has too much respect for the Breakers. Wilkinson is a big loss for them and the nature of the loss to Perth last week stunned most keen observers but I expect they'll be very hungry to make amends this week. Should be a great game, but I'm tipping New Zealand by 4.
1. This may be an exaggeration