Stop AJ (Preview: 36ers v Kings 26/1/14)
AJ Ogilvy started the season playing MVP-type basketball and quickly stamped himself as one of the premier bigs in the league. When import Jesse Sanders was sent packing, AJ struggled and saw his numbers nosedive. He got back to his best here a fortnight ago against Adelaide and that's a worry for the Sixers. In the previous two meetings versus Adelaide he's averaged 20 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3 blocks. Daniel Johnson has matched him scoring wise in those clashes (20.5 points a game) but has averaged just 6.5 boards and no blocks. AJ has scored at will under the basket, rebounded like a machine and been a true paint protector. In each game Johnson shot the ball more from outside, was held off the boards and provided no interior resistance. AJ has also contained some of Adelaide's penetration, especially causing Gary Ervin problems.
To win, Adelaide needs some help on the boards and to get AJ into some foul trouble. Enter Luke Schenscher and Mitch Creek.
In the first matchup, these two overqualified bench players combined for 24 points and 17 rebounds. Schensch found some easy baskets inside and Creek attacked the basket relentlessly. They were key cogs in Adelaide's successful 2-3 zone that gave a Harvey-less Kings fits.
In the return bout, Schensch and Creek combined for 5 points and 5 boards. Schenscher struggled to have the same impact and was curiously benched for the entire second half. He didn't score but pulled down 5 boards in under 10 minutes. Creek also got less than ten minutes but apparently "had a bug". He scored 5 but didn't grab any rebounds. To win, these two need to be at their best.
Sydney will be keen to keep it's little 3 game win streak alive while Adelaide will be out for revenge and a needed road win. AJ is key but Sydney will hoping for Madgen, Young and Harvey to stretch Adelaide's defense and for Young and Garlepp to be active inside.
Adelaide will need Ervin back to his best, Gibson to continue his great recent form and for DJ to lift.
It should be a beauty but I think the Kings might have too many weapons today.
My Tip: Sydney by 3