12/30/12

Party like it's 1999? (Preview 36ers v Crocs 31/12/12)

Tomorrow night the 36ers face-off against the Crocs for the third time this season. Normally facing the bottom team is welcome relief. Not for these 36ers though.

You may remember Adelaide handed Townsville their first win of the season just 30 days ago in the Swamp. The Crocs had just picked up Luke Nevill and didn't seem far off their first win. It's been shown having an explosive American point guard generally goes a long way to beating these Sixers and on this night Gary Ervin had a biggie (22/5/6). The loss started the rot, with Adelaide unable to win a game since.

Two days later they faced Sydney and had worked up a comfortable lead when fortune smiled on them with Ben Madgen leaving the game with what appeared to be a serious injury. Normally it's a good thing when an opposing MVP candidate leaves the game.  It worked a charm for Sydney though as Adelaide took the foot of the gas and Sydney seized a chance to turn the game around. Sydney won and Adelaide was reeling after returning an 0-2 result from a round in which they would have expected to come out 2-0. The losses resulted in CJ Massingale being sent packing.

The timing of the axing saved Adelaide a few thousand dollars but cost it when it came up short in the next round against nemesis Perth. Adelaide was ahead 2-0 in the season series but didn't have the answers this time. Massingale had been a huge part of one of those wins but this time around was probably hitching a ride back to Melbourne (seriously, he doesn't have a car). Adelaide now on a 3 game losing streak.

Adelaide returned home the next round to face off against cellar dweller Townsville, this time in the comfort of their own stadium. Things were going well with Adelaide holding a five point lead halfway through the last quarter and seemingly on their way to a hard fought win. Yet again though it was Ervin with some help from his friends (Crawford and Holmes) who found a way to win. Plus we lost Mitch Creek to a season-ending injury. Bad times.

We don't need to go over the Breakers game again but now we're on a rare 5 game losing streak.

Working in Adelaide's favour, in theory, will be the injury to Jacob Holmes which will mean Townsville will need a big lift from Neville, Hinder and Allen on the boards. You'd be stunned though if Adelaide took their opponent lightly though this time around.

Harming Adelaide will be the likelihood we won't see Christopherson suit up as it appears unlikely his papers will get through. This handling of the CJ mess was one thing but to go 5 games without a replacement is a disgrace. Adelaide got 7 points out of it's bench Friday night and this alone will likely prove costly.

Adelaide looks low on confidence and will need an almighty effort to pull out a win in a hostile environment on New Years Eve. They showed some good signs in the first half against New Zealand but that was undone by their second half.  I just think that our thin bench is going to cost us this one, with Crosswell and Petrie only averaging a combined 10.5 pts in the previous two Crocs games.

My tip: Townsville by 6




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