Adelaide 36ers vs. Sydney Kings
MATCH UP STATS
Adelaide 36ers vs. Sydney Kings
Season record:Adelaide 36ers: 15-7Sydney Kings: 11-12
Last 5 results:Adelaide 36ers: WWWWLSydney Kings: LLWLL
Line betting odds:Adelaide 36ers: -2.5 ($1.91 @ Sportsbet)Sydney Kings: +2.5 ($1.91 @ Sportsbet)
Saturday, January 21, 2017, 7.30pm AEDT, Titanium Security Arena, Adelaide, watch on Fox Sports.
A MONTH ago the Sydney Kings were sitting pretty at the top of the NBL ladder, absolutely smashing teams.
But a month is a very, very long time in this league.
All of a sudden, the all conquering Kings are now fourth – and only own two more wins than the bottom placed Brisbane Bullets.
They have lost six of their past seven, including back to back losses to the 36ers in mid December.
That was unthinkable five weeks ago, but this is an unthinkable league.
And it means this clash with the now top of the table Adelaide 36ers is so vitally important.
But it’s not going to be easy. Bottom of the table in mid November, the Sixers went on a remarkable eight game winning streak, then fell asleep one night and were completely slaughtered by Melbourne United.
It may have been the complacency wake up call they needed.
That beating has somehow steeled the Sixers and they are currently on a four game winning streak, opening up a huge three win gap at the top of the competition.
The stellar play of import point guard Jerome Randle is a key driver of the Sixers’ success and he is deservedly a Most Valuable Player favourite.
His 22.18 points per game is second in the competition for a team that is the $3.40 title favourite with Sportsbet.com.au
But the Sixers don’t need him to be a complete monster to win. In two round 15 victories – over United, 100-73, and the Perth Wildcats, 95-84 – Randle had 19 and 17 points.
Still handy numbers, but he turned provider against Melbourne with eight assists as young scoring machine Nathan Sobey brought the rain down, with 32 points and five three pointers – to go along with eight dimes of his own.
It was a more even spread of scorers for the Sixers later in the weekend, with five players reaching double figures, headlined by Sobey and big man Daniel Johnson, who both dropped 19 points a piece.
It is a sobering reality for the other teams in this league when they look at the Sixers line up and see an arsenal of offensive weapons, coupled with a defensive minded set up that simply plays for each other and works like a well oiled machine.
The Kings were at one point title favourites, but are now fifth on the line of betting at $7.50.
It is a huge fall from grace for the Andrew Gaze coached team that looked unbeatable early in the season.
So bad are the Kings going, that they squibbed a clash with then bottom side New Zealand.
With injured star Brad Newley watching from the sidelines, the Kings were still expected to win, but they could not get the job done, despite 18 points from Jason Cadee.
Captain Kevin Lisch had an absolute stinker with just nine points on three of 14 shooting and only two other players – imports Greg Whittington and Josh Powell (12 and 13 respectively) reached double figures in the 92-74 shellacking.
And, with import Steve Blake long gone and big man Julian Khazzouh out for the rest of the season, Newley is no certainty to recover from his to injury in time for the Sixers’ clash.
“I’m playing some of these guys a lot of minutes and perhaps down the stretch in games it’s taking it’s toll,” Gaze said.
“I need to look at that and see if that’s something we need to reassess. We need to figure out our rotations because it’s clearly not working at the moment.”
“I don’t exactly know what the diagnosis is (on Newley) but it’s very swollen and quite painful.
“We need him. He’s a big part of what we’re doing and he’s having a great season.”
The Sixers have to deal with bottom of the table Brisbane in a day’s time, but that should not be a worry for them as they gear up to take on the Kings on the weekend.
Match result: Adelaide 36ers to win ($1.61 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Line betting: Adelaide 36ers -2.5 ($1.91 with Sportsbet.com.au)
On exposed form, talent, and home court advantage, there is simply no way we can top the Sydney Kings here. The Titanium Security Arena has turned into a ridiculous cauldron for opposing teams to come and be cooked up. The Sixers simply do not lose on their home floor and especially not to a team that has been shredded by injuries, import losses and poor form. The Kings and Sixers have played each other three times this season. The result has been the same every time. Three wins to Adelaide. Andrew Gaze, as much as a legend as he is as a baller – and it might be blasphemy to say this – might just have run out of cattle – or ideas – and that makes things very hard for a team that, quite frankly, has forgotten how to win games. Expect Randle and the Sixers here to come away with one of those regulation wins that they have been dealing out in all too monotonous fashion. It will take a very good team to top them in a multiple game series, come playoff time.
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