Oh no not you again (Preview: 36ers v Breakers 28/12/12))

If there's one team Adelaide has struggled against of late (actually there's a few but go with me) it's New Zealand. Whether it's in Adelaide or in Auckland, the Breakers just seem to have Adelaide's measure. There was hope that when Gary Wilkinson was not brought back for the 2012-2013 campaign, Adelaide would have at least a fighting chance come the new season. Things were going well in our first game against them this year until Cedric Jackson went berserk ( read the game report here ). This time the teams match up in Adelaide.

Does Adelaide have a chance?

The 36ers are on a four game losing streak and playing their first game since they lost Mitch Creek to a season ending Achilles injury. They have brought in a replacement though, US guard Scott Christopherson. It will be a baptism of fire for Christopherson, only having a few days to adjust to a new country, a new system and playing against the league's best team. 36ers fans will be willing him on and hoping he's a difference maker. It is a tough ask though.

Here's my keys for an Adelaide win.

With Creek's injury it's likely Weigh will regularly be playing close to 35 minutes a game. Weigh reminded us all of his sweet shooting in last weekend's ASG 3pt Shootout and Clarke must utilise him more. Weigh is often a forgotten man on offense but he should be freed up for more threes. He's only been taking three shots a game from beyond the arc, yet is it shooting the three at 46%. At home he's hitting at an incredible 62% clip. So yeh, maybe we should run some plays for him.

Luke Schenscher has looked much better over the last month or so, averaging 12points and 8 boards over the last 4 games (up on 8.7 and 6.9 for the year). He scored 2pts on 1/6 last time against the Breakers to go with 9 boards. DJ scored 15 on 5/16 last time to go with 7 boards. 6/22 from your key bigs in unacceptable. Just as concerning is the fact they only drew five fouls from Pledger and Hudson. Conversely, Pledger and Hudson hit 11 of 19 shots and grabbed 19 boards, comprehensively winning the duel against their more celebrated opponents. Slowing those two down and getting them in early foul trouble will go a long way to helping Adelaide get the win.

Adelaide has an extremely thin bench and will be most reliant on a big contribution from Petrie and new import Christopherson. Petrie averages 10 a game and Crosswell 2.9.  Daly and Vasiljevic have not scored this year. That means we need at least 10 out of Christopherson or 20 point games from Gibson and DJ to be any sort of chance. Tough ask.

I've no doubt our key guys will be feeling good about themselves after last week's All-Star game with all of our guys making an important contribution to the South win and all looking like they had fun. New Zealand though will come to town looking for their first of two wins on a tough Trans-Tasman trip (they play Cairns Monday night). Considering the form of this Breakers team, their great record against Adelaide, the fact the 36ers are still adjusting to life without CJ and Creek and now have to incorporate a new import I just can't see this resulting in a 36ers win.

My Tip: New Zealand by 8

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