The undefeated Taipans take on the 1-1 36ers in what should be a race to 100. The Taipans are averaging the most points per game so far this year (94.5), with Adelaide sitting third at 88.5. If Adelaide had Frye and Gibson for it's season opener, there's every chance they'd be closer to Cairns's league-leading number. Both teams boast a solid inside-outside game and are stronger offensively than defensively.
So who wins?
Cairns has beaten both New Zealand and Townsville to open season 2013/2014. No-one was really impressed by the Townsville win until the Crocs beat the Breakers the next week. Suddenly it looks like the Taipans have had two good wins. An undermanned Adelaide lost to league-leaders Perth and then beat a feisty hawks side last week.
Last season's form counts for little in this one.Scott Christopherson, somehow, scored 16 points in the last matchup. Shame he saved that for so late in his stint. Aaron Grabau also scored 16 in that one too and has now retired. Steve Weigh has switched sides. Three new imports are in play. Adelaide now has a
Adelaide boasts a better defensive lineup but will have it's perimeter defensive game plan truly tested by the Taipans. The 36ers have (deliberately) allowed over 30 three point attempts in each game so far this season and will be playing with fire it it allows that many against the Taipans. Cairns hit 15-22 triples last week and most of it's lineup loves the three ball.
Adelaide will rely heavily on it's bigs in this one to get a result. The Taipans lack any great inside defenders and last year struggled to contain Adelaide's talls. Peach averaged just under 15 against the Taipans and DJ just under 16. Expect backups Luke Schenscher and BJ Anthony to do some damage here. Schensch only played once against Cairns last year and recorded a 15/10 game. BJ should cause problems with his aggression inside.
The backcourt matchups should essentially cancel each other out but should be fun to watch. McCamey and Ervin will engage in a "can you top this" battle. Gibson and Gliddon will grind it out. Each team's third guard started last year and could play a vital role. Jamar Wilson will be keen to atone for last week's poor game (5pts, 6 turnovers) after such a great season opener. Jason Cadee showed some positive signs last week and will be keen to back that up.
In the end the difference could come at the 3 spot where Frye and Creek will go against Weigh and Steindl.
Frye is too slippery for Weigh and Mitch will be be keen to go up against the guy who took a lot of his potential minutes the last two years. Weigh will likely play largely as a decoy at the other end and will look to draw Frye and Creek away from the boards or perhaps even use his size against them in the post. Steindl has no hope guarding either but unlike Weigh doesn't boast a post-up game and will hope to nail some threes. If Gliddon has to help on Frye or Creek suddenly Gibson has some freedom.
It should be a great game to watch and fans will be glad it's on free to air tonight at 9:30 on ONE.
My Tip: Adelaide by 5