3rd time unlucky? (Preview: 36ers v Wildcats 9/12/12)
If they win, many will point to Adelaide's great record over Perth in recent times and say it's no big deal. Credit where credit's due though- Perth are a damn good team. If Adelaide lose, pressure will continue to build, especially on the coaching staff. Most of the SA basketball public, from Boti Nagy to the average fan are saying enough's enough. The treatment and use of CJ has brought a lot into the light.
So how will Adelaide respond? A win won't necessarily tell us much. How the team goes about it will.
Adelaide is 2-0 against Perth this year. The first win here was good but Perth's horror season-opening schedule certainly was a factor. The win against them in the first ever game at Perth Arena was much more impressive and had people believing the team was legit. It also had people questioning if Perth had lost their mojo. Adelaide had a bye the next round and then lost both games the following weekend. Perth is on a four game winning streak since that game, including the scalps of New Zealand and Wollongong. Adelaide sensationally released CJ Massingale this week, who pretty much got Adelaide over the line in the first matchup. Perth has lost Matt Knight to injury but quickly replaced him with Americam Mike Dunigan, who had 19 points and 4 rebounds on debut last night.
Dunigan looks a handful. He's a big body and has an impressive 7'3" wingspan. He'll cause some problems for DJ and Schenscher. Redhage and Lisch are returning to their best form and Perth's depth is as strong as ever. Adelaide will be relying heavily on Gibson and Johnson to score and for the bench to step up. Anthony Petrie had a tough double last week, averaging 4.5 points and 4.5 boards while shooting 4/13. With no CJ, Creek should get more minutes and he has to make every minute count. Without CJ, Adelaide has no real shooters coming off the bench, so Creek will have to attack the basket and give us a different look.
I picked Perth in the previous two match ups and am going to make it three in a row. I'm hoping for more of my "reverse jinx" fortune but can't see Perth in it's current form and with the memory of their previous performances against Adelaide letting this one slip.
Tip: Perth by 6