NBL 2014/15 Round 10 Preview: Two of the league's hottest teams battle it out
|Shay Pearson||Dec 14, 2014|
Melbourne United vs. New Zealand Breakers
Sunday, 14th December - 7:00pm (local)
Hisense Arena, Melbourne
Odds: Melbourne $1.65, New Zealand $2.25
Tickets: Click here
Melbourne United will be looking to record their 8th win of the season, further solidifying their spot in the NBL playoffs. They face the toughest test, up against the ladder leading New Zealand Breakers.
Melbourne will also be buoyed by the return of star import Jordan McRae, who missed last week’s game due to the birth of his child, for their weekend double and will be looking to rebound from a tough loss in Adelaide on Friday night.
Melbourne, particularly their starting unit, has really started to click the past few weeks and will look to keep the momentum rolling.
The Breakers will be hoping they can carry the momentum from their impressive win against Perth on Thursday night into this game.
Tom Abercrombie View image | gettyimages.com The small forward for the New Zealand Breakers is always key for his side, though he’s been somewhat inconsistent this year. Although his season averages of 11.7 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per contest are virtually identical to his career averages, his game-by-game performances have varied greatly.
Where he hasn’t been inconsistent is his three-point shooting, Abercrombie is shooting a scorching hot 52.8% from deep on the season. Moreover, it has been noted that when Abercrombie misfires from three, the Breakers lose more than they win. When he hits at least 40% of his triples, the Breakers are essentially unbeatable.
If David Barlow lets Abercrombie get off the chain, watch out. He has to be very mindful of him, particularly in terms of his off-ball defense. In their previous contest he was limited to only 9 points.
If they can limit Abercrombie to simply being a role player, Melbourne should significantly increase their chances of winning.
What to Watch for:
Arguably the NBL’s two in-form teams
The real top of the table clash took place on Thursday night between New Zealand and Perth. However, if you’re talking the two teams with the most momentum, this might be it.
New Zealand has won seven of their last eight contests, currently sitting alone on top of the ladder at 10 wins. Meanwhile after a slow start, Melbourne has rebounded nicely, and despite a loss to Adelaide on Friday they sit fourth on the ladder and are beginning to make a run at the top two.
United are on fire at the moment, finally clicking on both ends of the floor. As of late, their starting five has been absolutely unstoppable offensively, despite their poor display in Adelaide.
New Zealand rebounded nicely from a disappointing defeat at the hands of the Kings to bludgeon Perth at home. New Zealand will need to limit the perimeter opportunities for Melbourne if they are to come out on top.
While the bookmakers are in Melbourne’s favour, it seems silly to go against the ladder leading Breakers. Just.
New Zealand by 4