11/21/13

Would you like Frye (and Gibbo) with that? (Preview: 36ers v Wildcats 22/11/13)

On October 12, an undermanned 36ers group took on the might of the Perth Wildcats in Perth and came out with an 83-80 loss. While Perth was missing big man Matt Knight, Adelaide was missing starters Jarrid Frye and Adam Gibson. After this game we knew both teams were legit top 4 contenders, we just didn't know they'd be this good.

Perth still hasn't lost a game. They have two great imports in James Ennis and Jermaine Beal. Their key veterans, Redhage and Martin, are playing near their best. Matt Knight is working his way back but has had time thanks to the stellar play of backup Tom Jervis.

Adelaide also has two very good imports and some key veterans playing well but is getting a lot more help from it's bench. It has also worked out it's pecking order and everyone seems pretty clear and comfortable with their roles. Ervin is looking more for his shot when the chips are down rather than being all caring and sharing. Gibbo focuses on defense first and picks his spots offensively. Frye has had several big fourth quarters and is well supported by Mitch Creek. Anthony Petrie is having very little run for him and focuses on doing the dirty work. DJ still plays a large part on offense but has improved at weeding out the bad shots. Cadee spells Ervin and tries to keep up the tempo. Schensch is there to give a different look on defense and to expose undersized bigs at the other end. BJ and Teys ensure the team doesn't miss a beat when they spell Petrie and Gibson respectively. It's the deepest Adelaide team we've seen in a long time.

So who wins?

We could almost fast forward through the first three quarters as the fourth quarter will be where the game is decided. It should be an absolute cracker.

Perth has effectively toyed with teams through the first three quarters of games. It has outscored opponents 155-111 in fourth quarters. It's had some ok fourth quarters offensively but it's defense has been the key. It has held teams to 15 points or less in six of it's 8 games, including a 16-7 quarter over Sydney and a 15-6 quarter over the Hawks. It has outscored every opponent so far in fourth quarters except one-Adelaide.

The Sixers haven't owned fourth quarters though, having been outscored in four of it's eight fourth quarters, with two of those games at home (Hawks and Tigers). In it's loss to Perth, it outscored them in the fourth but just had too much ground to make up with too few weapons. Against Melbourne it suffered from some shooting woes and a Tigers offensive barrage. As it showed last week against New Zealand, this team, currently on a four game winning streak, can't be counted out no matter how dire the circumstances with it's mix of talent, attitude and smarts.

Adelaide is desperate for a crack at the form team of the competition at home and is full of confidence after last week's triumph. With all that is at stake I can't see them losing...... and think they'll be keen to add an exclamation point.

My tip: Adelaide by 7

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