Double Trouble (Preview: 36ers vs Wildcats, Kings 14/3 and 16/3)
The Sixers start their weekend tomorrow night with a home clash against the Perth Wildcats.
It's pretty hard to get a read on this one. Perth leads the season series 2-1, winning both home games, the most recent one comprehensively. That was Adelaide's first game without Frye, with Carter and with Brendan Teys starting. It didn't go well. Adelaide had an impressive win in the Adelaide Arena clash, managing to slow James Ennis and put Perth on the back foot with some aggressive transition basketball. Repeating those feats will be crucial to a win tomorrow.
Adelaide has the bodies to slow Ennis but must again not let Perth punish them from the perimeter. In the previous three clashes Perth has averaged 12 threes a game. That's ten more than Adelaide, who have nailed three, none and three triples in those games. Perth hates giving up threes. Adelaide hates giving up points in the paint.
It should be a beauty.
Adelaide will be super fired up for this one.....but so will Perth. Another blowout win by Perth will have Adelaide questioning if it has the cattle to handle Perth in the playoffs. A win have them confident they can handle Perth when they haven't had big interruptions (Gibson and Frye pulled out late for round 1, Frye was cut and Carter brought in four days before the last game). Offensively, Adelaide will be leaning heavily on the in-form DJ, Ervin and Gibson to keep Perth honest from the outside while also attacking inside. Defensively, Adelaide must contest Perth's perimeter shooters and not allow Redhage and Ennis to score within 10 feet.
It should be the game of the year.
My tip: Adelaide by 3
Adelaide gets one day of rest before taking on Sydney again at the Kingdome. The Sixers will face yet another version of the Kings, this time taking on the Sanders/Young version. Adelaide has only played one of it's game against the Kings with Sanders and that was a win. The next two were big losses against the Young/Carmouche tandem but it was AJ Ogilvy who did most of the damage both times. He's been in a bit of a funk of late but had a big game tonight against the Breakers, scoring 25.
A win for Adelaide will largely depend on it's ability to nullify Ogilvy and Ben Madgen, who has had some big games versus Adelaide. Young and James Harvey can hardly be underestimated either.
This will be a tough one for Adelaide and I'd really like to see the Perth result before making this tip. If Adelaide pulls of a big win, expect them to get this one in Sydney. If Adelaide lose or just get over the line I think it's Sydney.
The Violet Crumbles are on a 4 game losing streak but three of those four have been on the road. The home game was an honourable loss to Perth. Young, Madgen and Garlepp all scored 20 in the previous clash between these two teams.Adelaide got 28 from DJ and 24 from Ervin but this came on 19/45 shooting. The only other Sixer to score in double figures was Jarrid Frye.
Sydney's loss to the Breakers has well and truly opened up fourth spot and sealed third for Melbourne. Wollongong, Cairns and New Zealand can all still mathematically claim fourth spot. With all at stake I think Sydney can keep up their impressive run against Adelaide.
My Tip: Sydney by 5