NBL 2014/15 Round 10 Preview: Perth face the Breakers in possible finals preview

Perth Wildcats vs. New Zealand Breakers

Thursday 11th December, 7:30pm (Local Time)

Vector Arena

Tickets: Click here

Odds: New Zealand Breakers $1.70, Perth Wildcats $2.15

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It’s a clash of the top of the table this week; Perth and New Zealand have consistently been the best teams in the league year in and year out, and this season has been no different.

Led by veterans Damian Martin and Shawn Redhage, Perth is once again the team to beat in the NBL. After dismantling Wollongong last week, Perth will face New Zealand away this week. This game should give the Wildcats a chance to find out where they stand with regards to one of their biggest threats to the title. The boys from out west will look for big games from Jermaine Beal and DeAndre Daniels, who have been contributing strongly of late.

For the home side, tonight provides an opportunity to move into first place. They will need a much stronger game this week after the Kings put on a clinic last week, proving the Breakers still have some work to do. The Breakers often go small, playing Mika Vukona at the 4, and starting a 3-guard lineup of Corey Webster, Rueben Te Rangi and Cedric Jackson.

Jackson will face Martin, who is still the best perimeter defender in the league, in what will be a marquee matchup. For New Zealand to have a strong chance in this one they will need Jackson to facilitate and get his teammates involved early. Martin has a tendency to fluster opposing guards into playing out of their rhythm. A big game from Ekene Ibekwe on both ends of the floor would help too.

Key Player:

DeAndre Daniels

The import for Perth, who was supposed to come in and dominate the same way James Ennis did last year has had an up and down season so far. However in his last few games he looks as though he is starting to put it all together. He just barely missed out on a double double last week, falling two rebounds shy.

Last week the Breakers struggled to keep Childress off the glass, as he grabbed 16 boards to go with his 16 points. If Daniels can use his athleticism to get any rebound that comes his way and then push the ball up the court, he could make a huge difference in this game. When he is matched up with the notably shorter Rueben Te Rangi, he will have an opportunity to take advantage and should provide a huge boost to the Wildcats.

What to Watch for:

A playoffs preview

These teams seem destined for the finals. Both teams have combined to win the last 5 NBL titles, and you can bet at least one of these teams will be competing in the last game of the season. A playoff like atmosphere will no doubt be in effect and here is no love lost between these two teams. It should only build to the story, as these teams have seemingly separated themselves from the rest of the field.

Final word:

This one is tough; the Breakers got the better of Wildcats in Perth Arena last time, so you can bet the Perth faithful will be hoping their side can get some revenge here. The battle of the import duos will likely decide the winner in this clash, but either way this one will go down to the wire, with the visiting Wildcats getting some sweet revenge.

Perth by 3