Round 14 of the NBL boasts six games and several potentially crucial ties as the competitions continues to speed towards finals.
The action is underway on Thursday night when old rivals the 36ers and Wildcats do battle in Adelaide, while the Cairns Taipans will look to build on a credible form resurgence then they host the Breakers in Round 14’s final game on Sunday.
Old foes the 36ers and Wildcats will do battle in Adelaide on Thursday night, in what is generally a great fixture regardless of form.
Three weeks ago, the result of this game probably would have been a forgone conclusion – a comfortable Wildcats win. The former competition leaders have completely fallen out of form however and enter this one with a 12-8 record and third in overall standings. A loss here would potentially see them drop below Brisbane into fourth.
Adelaide will be confident of getting the W and they can cover a line currently set at only 2.5 points.
Last-start winners the Hawks will host the New Zealand Breakers in one of Round 14’s more interesting fixtures on Friday.
The Hawks really seem to have the Sydney Kings’ number this season and recorded a second win over the league leaders in as many weeks with a 15-point thrashing on Sunday. The result means they are still within two games of the top four but more importantly, is sure to have built their confidence ahead of a vital run of games.
The Breakers were only in action once in Round 13 and interestingly, that was an eight-point loss to the Kings. Regardless of the result, they will enter this one fresh and will be quietly confident of defeated what has ultimately been an inconsistent Hawks outfit.
I give both clubs a real shot of winning and I think the value lies with backing the Breakers to cover the line, currently set at three points.
The competition leaders will be eager to atone for last weekend’s heavy loss to the Hawks when they host Adelaide on Saturday afternoon.
The Kings have really built to the task this season but have still been capable of a flat performance, and that was certainly the case last weekend when they walked away 15-point losers to ‘little brother’.
This will be the second time that the 36ers step out in Round 14 and how they fare against the Wildcats first-up on Thursday is sure to have some bearing on how they will fare here.
I think the Kings will be too good at home and they can cover a 4.5-point line.
We’re set for a thrilling contest when the Bullets host the Taipans, who have seemingly found their feet in the last couple of weeks.
Having won just one game through the first thirteen, the Taipans thrashed the Bullets in Cairns in Round 12, pushed league-leaders Sydney all the way before taking a rare win away from the Wildcats in Perth, last weekend.
The Bullets remain fourth in overall standings and with the right results, could leapfrog Perth into third this weekend. They be confident of reversing their Round 12 fortunes against the Taipans after a comfortable win over the 36ers on the road most-recently.
I give Cairns a serious chance of winning this outright, and they can certainly cover a line currently
Another quality contest in Round 14 will see last-start winners and reigning champions Melbourne United travel west on Sunday to take on the out of form Perth Wildcats.
Formerly the clear competition leaders, the Wildcats have completely fallen out of winning form and are lacking confidence. A comfortable loss at the hands of Cairns last week is sure to have compounded everything and they’ll need to improve drastically to compete in this one.
United will enter this one nice and fresh and full of confidence, having starved Cairns out of last Sunday’s fixture and ultimately covered a 3.5-point line with utter ease. I think they are good enough to do that again.
The second game for both the Taipans and Breakers in Round 14 and obviously, we’ll be able to get a better gauge on this one after both clubs are in action earlier in the round.
New life has been breathed into the Taipans’ campaign and while it could all prove to be too little, too late, they’ll be eager to record another win at home.