There are only five games on the NBL slate in Round 9, but several potentially crucial clashes for several clubs.
The action is underway in the nation’s west on Friday night when the Wildcats attempt to atone for last week’s loss to Sydney, but we’ll have to wait until Monday for the match of the round between Melbourne and Perth.
In the reverse of last weekend’s meeting in Sydney, the Wildcats will host the Kings in the nation’s west on Friday night.
Sydney delivered Perth only their second loss of the season via a hard-fought 77-72 victory last week. The result does appear to have sparking something in the Kings, who subsequently snuck past the Breakers in New Zealand on Sunday. This is an entirely different kettle of fish, however and they’ll need to muster a season-best performance for win in Perth.
It was a rare flat night for the Wildcats last week, but they responded with an absolute thrashing of the Cairns Taipans on Sunday and they should just be winning this one.
The Bullets have found some serious form and will be confident of carrying that past the 36ers in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon.
A three-point win over Melbourne at home first-up last week was consolidated in the reverse leg when they delivered the reigning premiers a 16-point thrashing in front of the Melbourne faithful. They are flying high and alongside Perth, they are probably the formed team of the competition.
It hasn’t been the best start to a campaign on record for Adelaide and they enter this game sixth on the ladder, and off the back of a loss to Illawarra. They face a far tougher opponent and will need to improve tenfold.
The line looks very achievable for the Bullets at only 2.5 points.
We’re set for an intriguing game in Illawarra on Sunday when the Hawks plays host to local rivals the Sydney Kings.
Illawarra are another team to have found great form in recent weeks and they’ll be quietly confident of knocking off ‘Big Brother’. They were too good for the Taipans in Cairns first-up in Round 8, but their win over Adelaide away was perhaps their best of the season so far.
This will be Sydney’s second appearance of the weekend and obviously, we’ll get a better gauge on their chances after Friday’s game in Perth. This is an easier prospect, but I think they’ll have their hands full.
The lowly Cairns Taipans will attempt to record a rare win when they host the Breakers in North Queensland on Sunday afternoon.
The ledger reads 1-10 for the Taipans leading into Round 9 and they simply have not been able to compete effectively all season. Every game from this point onwards looks like it will be a legitimately tough prospect, unless they can find some sort of spark.
The Breakers were unlucky to lose to the Kings by a solitary point in Round 8, but they are simply a class above the Taipans this season and should be winning this.
The match of the round looks like materialising when Melbourne United host the Perth Wildcats on Monday night.
Melbourne simply did not have an answer for the ramped Bullets last week and they face an even tougher task in containing the current league-leaders. I’m happy to continue following the Wildcats in current form.