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NBL 2014/15 Round 18 Preview: Cairns search for win in second road game of the round
Sydney Kings (9-14) vs. Cairns Taipans (18-6)
Sunday, February 8th, 2:00pm (local)
Sydney Entertainment Centre
Odds: Sydney $2.62, Cairns $1.50
Cairns will be looking to end a road double in the best way possible as they face the Sydney Kings in Round 18.
Sydney are hoping to show their home crowd that can still be competitive without their superstar Josh Childress.
As the finals draw closer and every game can change the positions in the top four, the Taipans will be desperate to keep top spot theirs.
Cairns are coming off a close win against Wollongong, getting over the line by three points, where Scottie Wilbekin starred with 17 points.
At the other end of the court, Sydney will be looking to bounce back after a heavy loss at the hands of Perth. In Josh Childress' absence, Tom Garlepp lead the way with a solid 17 point effort.
The former Australian representative is averaging 15.6 points and two assists per game this season.
If the Kings are going to put up any resistance and put on a show in front of their loyal fans, it must be led by Madgen. He is no stranger to leading a team as he has done it on other occasions and thrived being the number one option on the team.
Madgen is a King through and through, he will be more than willing to put the team and the club on his shoulders.
What to watch for
Dominance of Cairns front court
At the start of the season, the idea of Cairns having a dominant front court would be laughed at. Now with a new look Matt Burston, ever reliable Alex Loughton and sixth man of the year contender Cam Tragardh opposition teams are scared.
The Sydney big man stocks are pretty low at the moment with starting centre Angus Brandt out with injury as well as their leading rebounder Josh Childress. That leaves Josh Duinker, Tom Garlepp and Cody Ellis flying the Sydney big man flag.
Watch for the in form Burston to take control early and dominate inside the paint. The front court of the Taipans will need to fire if they want to make a deep playoff run.
These two teams are looking for different things over the rest of the season, but one thing stays the same, they both want to win.
Sydney will want to entertain their home crowd with a big performance, led by Ben Madgen and Tom Garlepp. Even though their season is all but over, they will be desperate for a win to try to mess with the Taipans minor premiership hopes.
On the Taipans roster, everyone knows their roles and anyone can have a big night on the score sheet. With the likes of Torrey Craig and Tragardh coming off the bench, this team is still out to prove all the early season doubters wrong. They know they need to keep winning in order to stay on top because New Zealand are ready to pounce.
Cairns by 7