NBL 2014/15 Round 13 Preview: Injury riddled Crocs, Kings to bring in 2015

Townsville Crocodiles vs. Sydney Kings

Wednesday, 31st December – 7.30pm (local time)

Townsville RSL Stadium

Odds: Townsville $1.50, Sydney $2.55

Tickets: Click here

Townsville and Sydney will both try to defy key injuries and end 2014 with a win when they clash in far-north Queensland.

The Crocs’ season is hanging by a thread and they will be looking to grab a much-needed win to stay in touch with Melbourne, who currently sits three games clear in fourth place. Clint Steindl and Mitch Norton are both in doubt for the match and will be big blows should they miss.

Sydney fell to New Zealand last week and remains a game behind United for the final playoffs spot. The Kings have now dropped their last two matches on the back of league MVP favourite Josh Childress’ hamstring injury, which is expected to keep him out for at least this clash.

Key Player

Tom Garlepp View image | gettyimages.com Garlepp was enormous in his side’s defeat last week as he stepped it up in the absence of Childress.

The Kings big man crashed the boards and protected the rim strongly, but also got aggressive on the offensive end to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Should Childress continue to miss through injury, the Kings will look to Garlepp to continue giving them the production they need inside the paint, starting with the match against the Crocs, where he faces two tough opponents in Mickell Gladness and Brian Conklin.

What To Watch For

Hot shooting from the perimeter

Both sides possess offensive weapons that are able to light it up from deep at a moment’s notice, which should make for an entertaining matchup.

Crocs duo Todd Blanchfield and Steindl (if he plays) are among the best young shooters in the league and have shown this season already that they are on the verge of taking the next step to NBL stardom.

Sydney’s Ben Madgen and Jason Cadee, who has been hot over the fortnight, as well as import Kendrick Perry are similarly brilliant from the perimeter, with an injury-free Madgen seemingly getting back to his best and Perry finding his feet after a slow start to his NBL career.

Final Word

This match will be tight, with the absence of Childress opening the door for the home side to snare a much-needed win. However, with injury concerns of their own and a poor form line in recent weeks, it will take an improved effort for them to get over the line.

Sydney pushed Melbourne all the way despite missing their star player in an overtime loss, before falling at home to the league-leading Breakers. A huge win against defending champions Perth preceded those two losses and, while they had Childress on board in that match, it signalled the Kings were mounting a legitimate challenge for a finals berth.

Their performances over the past two weekends have shown enough to suggest they still have plenty in the tank, and a win against the struggling Crocs would be the perfect segway to their mouth-watering clash with Melbourne on the weekend.

Sydney by 5