Final shot at glory (Preview: 36ers v Taipans 15/3/13)
The teams have split the games in Adelaide and the 36ers won the previous battle in Cairns. Each game has been tight and Adelaide had every chance to win last week, letting itself down from the free throw line down the stretch and also failing to get a shot off at the close of the game. They will be keen to atone for that tomorrow night.
For Adelaide to win, several players will need to step up. It's a given DJ, Peach and Gibson will be all make important contributions but with a restricted bench, Adelaide will need a much better return from it's other starters, Jason Cadee and Steve Weigh. The two combined for 12 points on 4/20 shooting, 9 boards and 3 assists last week. Weigh had an off-shooting night while Cadee just had nothing going. With 2 games left, JC must remind the club brass of his talent or he faces the very real possibility of coming off the bench next year. He's now had several underwhelming games in a row and falls victim to just "playing basketball". He needs to impose himself on the game more, either by creating more for his team mates or by getting to the rack. The kid has talent but he's only hit 5 assists twice this year. He's had some memorable "moments" but only one real memorable game (a 24 point outing against Melbourne in case you forgot).
Cairns has plenty of offensive punch and got important contributions from Wilson, Tragardh, Loughton, Edwards and Grabau last week without any of them truly taking over (each scored between 10-13 points). Edwards in particular looked dangerous last week at times, mainly because Adelaide had no suited matchup for him. Adelaide would be wise to go in early and often to DJ and try to get one (or several) of the Taipans in foul trouble. Johnson averages 18 points and 10 boards against Cairns, who don't have a perfect matchup for him either.
It should be another close one. Adelaide is simply playing for pride and the small chance it can lift itself off the bottom of the ladder with 2 wins from it's last 2 games (assuming the Crocs don't win one of their last 3). Cairns still has a great chance to make the playoffs and wins against the struggling Sixers and Melbourne next round could be enough.
My Tip: Cairns by 4