NBL 2014/15 Round 12 Preview: Santa brings the NBL to Sydney as the Kings clash with the Breakers
Sydney Kings vs. New Zealand Breakers
Friday 26 December, 7:30pm (local time)
Qantas Credit Union Arena
Odds: Sydney Kings $1.77 NZ Breakers $2.05
The Breakers got a thumping last week when they faced the Taipans, however before that they had been on a tear.
Moving into top of the table and firmly establishing themselves as the team to beat. Today they face a potentially depleted Kings squad in a boxing day match up. Every Breakers player struggled last week, as only Vukona scored in double figures against Cairns. The NZ boys can’t let that happen again if they want to beat Sydney tonight and maintain their strangle hold on that top spot. The Kiwi’s will need a better shooting night from distance, as they went 0-17 last Sunday. Jackson and Webster will face Perry and Madgen in what should prove to be a guard heavy offensive game.
For the home side, they return to their home court off a disappointing loss to a rising Melbourne side. Sydney will look to continue their strong play at home, where they controlled Perth on Friday last week. Josh Childress is questionable for this game, the superstar small forward suffered a hamstring injury last week and will be a game time decision tonight. Every Sydney sider should be hoping Santa brings some Christmas magic and Childress is well enough to play. If he isn’t, expect Perry to step up along side Madgen, the teams second import has been overshadowed by the otherworldly play of his American teammate.
The Kings floor general has been average as of late, often times outplayed by his backup, aussie point, Cadee. With Childress potentially out, this is a huge opportunity for Perry to highlight his scoring mentality and play with more aggressiveness.
The speedy one guard has shown off his ultra athleticism, with a few jaw dropping plays this year. If he can find his shot from outside and get some good looks going to the basket early, I expect him to match and if not outplay Cedric Jackson. However, Jackson has been limiting opposing guards to sub par play, forcing opponents into turnovers. Perry will have to play smart and controlled basketball throughout the whole contest, as Jackson currently sits second in the league with 2.1 takeaways a game.
What to watch for
NZ’s forwards and guards having a field day if JChill is out
Outside of Josh Childress, the Sydney Kings have limited options at the 3. Sydney may do something crazy and start 3 guards if JChill sits, meaning Cadee would likely earn that extra starting spot. Whilst NZ’s often starts small, their guards can fill up the box score. While Perry and Madgen are admirable defenders, they will never be mistaken for Damian Martin, and adding Cadee to that lineup only makes Sydney more porous. Sydney will have to rely on their offense to stay in this game, as I don’t see anyone on the Kings squad being able to contain NZ’s starting guards or Abercrombie off the bench. I expect high scoring games from at least two of the aforementioned Breakers if not more.
Sydney has been tough at home recently, there is no doubt about that, but without JChill this ball club changes dramatically. Madgen will need to have his usual strong shooting night, whilst the Kings will need Perry to step up and show why they picked him as their second import. NZ is coming off a loss and potentially could lose their lead on the rest of the league if they don’t win tonight. I expect the Breakers to be motivated and a strong scoring game from any of their leading guards could put Sydney to bed. If JChill gets the all clear, Sydney has no problem at home, however, if he is out NZ should make the Kingdom more of a dungeon, as they punish Sydney and their lack of a legitimate defensive presence.
New Zealand by 12