Adelaide 36ers vs. Perth Wildcats
MATCH UP STATS
Adelaide 36ers vs. Perth Wildcats
Season record:Adelaide 36ers: 5-6Perth Wildcats: 6-5
Last 5 results:Adelaide 36ers: WWLLLPerth Wildcats: LLWLW
Top scorer:Adelaide 36ers: Nathan Sobey (15.73ppg)Perth Wildcats: Casey Prather (20.73ppg)
Line betting:Adelaide 36ers: -1.5 ($1.87)Perth Wildcats: +1.5 ($1.87)
Saturday, December 3, 2016, 7.30pm AEDT, Titanium Security watch on Fox Sports
THE NBL roared back in a blaze of glory this season.
It might finally be a legitimate competition, harking back to the glory years of the 1990s.
A raft of NBA players have made their way through the league this season, but it is the remarkable unpredictability of every match that has brought the crowds back.
And, while that might not necessarily be great for punters trying to predict winners, it does add to the thrill and intrigue.
Which brings us to a match up between the second-placed Perth Wildcats and the second bottom Adelaide 36ers.
In any other competition, you would think the team challenging for top spot would be the warm favourite, even if it is on the road.
But not the NBL.
Just one win separates these two teams on the ladder, even though there are four other clubs between them.
And, given the Wildcats will be playing their second game in three days, and the Sixers just knocked over top side Sydney, there’s a reason why Sportsbet.com.au has them as the favourite.
Things can change quickly in the NBL and, like their Melbourne United counterparts, things have all of a sudden begun to click for the Sixers.
Their 91-85 win over the Kings – in Sydney, no less – could be the catalyst for a run at the title.
Daniel Johnson (22 points, seven rebounds) and Julius Randle (20 points) were the destroyers for Adelaide, combining for 42 points, while big man Majok Deng dropped 11 off the bench in just 11 minutes. Those men helped the Sixers stave off a 25 point night from Kings’ star Kevin Lisch.
Coach Joey Wright said he was proud of young bucks, like Deng, who helped the Sixers do the job.
“I thought they did great,” Wright said.
“We had four rookies on the court at the beginning of the fourth quarter and they played probably the best defence for five minutes that we played for the entire game.
“We held them to 18 in the last quarter, which was their lowest quarter.
“It’s a process. I liken these guys to teaching my daughter how to drive a car.
“The first time she does it, she’s not so confident.
“She screws up, hits a curb, she doesn’t want to do it.
“Same with these guys.
“We hit a little bump in the road, they get a little nervous, then they put their foot back on the pedal, they go and they’re good.
“Then we hit another little bump in the road, they get a little nervous again … it’s just a process with them.”
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are sputtering, losing three of their last four, most recently going down to the Illawarra Hawks, 85-89.
Casey Prather led the way with 18 points and Matthew Knight and Jesse Wagstaff, off the bench, dropped 17 each.
But they could not stop the fourth placed Hawks from finishing them off on their home floor, with Rotnei Clark leading all scorers – off the bench – with 20 points.
Perth had not lot to Illawarra at home in their past 25 meetings and a fuming coach Trevor Gleeson gave his bench what-for.
“We got soft,” Gleeson said.
“We took the starters off and the bench came in and gave us nothing.
“The second quarter was one of the worst quarters I’ve seen.
“I reckon you could pick up five guys down the local gym and they’d play better than what we did in the second quarter.
“We just lack guys stepping up and taking assertion and leadership out there.“
The last time these two teams met, the Wildcats just pulled out a thrilling win, 106-103, in one of the highest scoring games in recent NBL history.
Randle was an electric force, dropping 40 points and handing out nine assists, while Perth’s high flying import pair Prather (28 points, eight assists) and Jarron Johnson (20 points, six three pointers) just did enough to save the Wildcats’ blushes on their home floor.
If this game is anything like the last one, expect fireworks, with the 36ers having revenge on their mind.
Game result: Adelaide 36ers to win ($1.72 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Line tip: Adelaide 36ers -1.5 ($1.87 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total match points: Under 178.5 ($1.87 with Sportsbet.com.au)
We are officially on the 36ers bandwagon. They looked to be a title contender at the start of the season, but, for whatever reason, they haven’t been able to put it together – until now. And things are looking up for the Sixers. By the same token, the Wildcats are on a downward turn at the moment. They have to host Brisbane tonight and then get on a plane to Adelaide for a game two nights later. If their form was good, we might be leaning toward the Wildcats, but this is a tale of two teams and the Sixers, with a fired up Randle, Johnson and gun Terrence Ferguson, they should be able to take advantage of the Perth’s tired legs, poor form and their home court.
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