If the first four NBL Semi-Finals matches are anything to go by, we are in for an absolute treat this Thursday night with the series between the Sydney Kings v Melbourne United and the Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans all reaching game three.
So far, we’ve seen everything and anything this finals series from Melbourne United’s collapse on Saturday to their absolute demolition of the Sydney Kings on Monday night.
The Wildcats and Taipans series has also given the finals staple Perth a scare with a one-point win in overtime last Friday night and then going down to Cairns on their home court on Sunday.
All matchups are at one game each and this will decide once and for just who will book a spot in the Grand Final series.
We’re in for a great night of hoops this Thursday and we’ve got your punting needs covered in our tips and preview.
Just how good Melbourne United’s win over the Sydney Kings on Monday night is best summed up via this Tweet from the NBL
Quite the night at the office/Melbourne Arena for @MelbUnitedHQ 📊
First a 16-point 4th quarter comeback, then THAT last night. This series and rivalry is real. Don't @ us.
Game 3⃣ – Thursday 7:30pm AEDT on SBS VICELAND and ESPN 📺 pic.twitter.com/aTown5nBEP
— NBL (@NBL) March 3, 2020
After dropping a significant lead in the first game, Melbourne United came back with a vengeance with a 38-0 start and for the Kings (who finished top of the table after the home and away season) was a case of “Stop, Stop, He’s already dead”
Despite being belted by Melbourne United on Monday night, the Sydney Kings go into this match the favourite to win.
However, had Melbourne United been able to maintain four straight quarters in game 1 along with their thumping win in game 2 – the Kings would be out in straight sets.
Fortunately, having the home court advantage will work well for the Sydney Kings having lost only two out of 12 games at Qudos Bank Arena this season and you couldn’t expect a team that’s been on top all season to drop it all in this do or die matchup?
I think you can.
For what it’s worth, Melbourne has been the dominant team this series and are coming good at the right time.
Based on form and a bit of value – I’m going the upset in this one and for Melbourne United to progress into a Grand Final series.
The series between the Wildcats and Taipans has been nothing short of sensational.
From the one point overtime thriller in Game 1 resulting in a one point Wildcats win to Sunday’s match which saw the Taipans get the job done 85-74 over Perth and holding MBL MVP Bryce Cotton at bay.
The market has the Perth Wildcats favourite to get the job done at home but the Taipans love and live up to their reputation as underdogs and playing at RAC Arena holds no fear for the Snakes.
Cairns had an upset win over the Wildcats earlier in the season at the venue, a narrow loss by four points and the one point loss in game 1 of this semi-finals series.
The Taipans have been the underdog team everyone wants to get behind this NBL finals series and the men in Orange toppling the almighty Wildcats on their home court of out of another Grand Final series would very much be on brand for the season they’ve had.
With the wave of momentum on their side, it’s worth taking the punt on the Taipans to book themselves a spot in the Grand Final series.
FINAL SCORE: Melbourne United 125 def. Sydney 80
Coming back from a devastating loss on Saturday night, Melbourne United have to back it up facing the Sydney Kings at Melbourne Arena tonight in game two of their semi-final series.
Melbourne United looked set to produce one of the great finals upsets on the weekend leading 93-74 with six minutes to go before the Kings scored 16 points in six minutes in one of the best purple-patches of form you’ll see on any Basketball Court.
Despite dropping the match, Melbourne United should have enough confidence going into this match.
They were in front for the majority of the game on Saturday night (just not when it mattered) and played some of their best Basketball that made them worthy of not just making up the numbers this finals series.
Playing at Melbourne Arena is also something United will welcome.
They are 9-5 this season and haven’t lost a game at the venue in 2020.
Despite finishing on to the Sydney Kings are developing a bit of a reputation as flat-track bullies winning only two of their last six away games.
Melbourne United have got to look at the positives going into this match, but a loss like the one they experienced on Saturday night won’t do great for the psych of the team.
The Sydney Kings have been way to dominant this season and their comeback in the last six minutes of Saturday nights match was a testament to their talent and why they are top-dog this finals series.
We backed the half-time/full-time for Melbourne United-Sydney Kings game one clash on Saturday and are more than happy to back this market again.
Expect Melbourne United to come out firing early and the Kings to get the job done, wrapping up this series and booking themselves a spot in the Grand Final.
FINAL SCORE: Perth Wildcats 108 def. Cairns 107
They might as well call the NBL Finals “The Perth Wildcats Invitational”.
The Wildcats finals streak now extends to 33 seasons in-a-row which now pre-dates the Wildcats Rap.
Perth begins their campaign to go back-to-back facing the Cairns Taipans who have had an outstanding season going from wooden spooners in 2018-19 to finishing third in a sensational turnaround of form.
Facing the Perth Wildcats at RAC Arena is one of the most daunting tasks in sport (let alone a bloody long five-hour flight from Cairns) but it shouldn’t hold much fear for Cairns who beat them 99-76 back in October at their only meeting at the venue this year and the momentum going for their season.
Cairns has also won two out of the three meetings they’ve played against the Wildcats this season and only narrowly went down to them when Perth beat them by four points back in December at the Snake Pit.
This game will be the first time the Taipans have tasted finals since 2017 and while they will be no doubt the underdog team everyone will be getting around during the playoff, the market favourite has won each of Cairns last 10 games.
While both teams haven’t met since December, Perth and Cairns have produced some thrilling games of recent.
There’s no doubt the Taipans will give the Wildcats a run for their money, but the money suggests to back the home team in a close one.
FINAL SCORE: Sydney Kings 86 def. Melbourne United 80
In the final round of the season and a few teams in the mix, everything falls into place for Melbourne United who finished in 4th spot and now face arch-rival the Sydney Kings in what should be another great matchup between these two sides.
Melbourne United and the Sydney Kings did meet in last years finals series with United winning both games 2-0 to progress into the Grand Final but the market and form suggest history won’t repeat itself this weekend.
The Sydney Kings have dominated Melbourne United winning 3 games to 1 this season and comfortably got the job done over them when they last met on Australia Day.
This NBL title is the Sydney Kings to lose and Melbourne United would love to deny them that opportunity however, I just can’t see it happening.
Back the half time/full time for a bit of value.