NBL 2014/15 Round 13 Preview: Childress returns just in time for gnarly clash with Melbourne

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Sydney Kings (7-9) v Melbourne United (9-8)

Friday, January 2, 7:30pm (local)

Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney

Odds: Sydney Kings $2.00 , Melbourne United $ 1.80


Sydney is coming off a painful loss to bottom feeders Townsville on New Years Eve, when the Kings fell short 93-92. While the one point loss was tough to swallow, the Kings couldn’t quite get things done, with Josh Childress sitting on the sidelines once again through injury.

With Childress confirmed as ready to go tonight, the Kings will now return to their much stronger line-ups and run through their normal rotations on offence.

While Childress may be a welcome addition to the team, expect Sydney to continue rolling with both Jason Cadee and Ben Madgen in the starting line-up. Cadee's strong play as of late will then leave import Kendrick Perry to come off the bench which he had done in the Kings' previous game.

After scoring 23 points on Wednesday night, the Kings will be hoping Madgen can take that hot form into tonight’s game. Look for Cadee to continue his recent play, as the young gun dished out 8 assists against the Crocs, getting everyone involved.

Melbourne currently sits one spot ahead of Sydney for the 4th and final playoff spot; however, a win for the Kings would see them creep within 1 game of their rival Melbourne side.

The away team should be well rested, their last game coming on December 28th, which saw Melbourne forced Perth to grind it out which eventuated into an overtime defeat.

Jordan McRae was injured early in that contest, so he will be itching to jump back on the hardwood to ignite his team. Melbourne’s imports continue to play well, and the Australian trio of David Barlow, Daniel Kickert and Mark Worthington continue to highlight what it means to be a hardworking Aussie.

Melbourne should be able to use their height and length advantage in this one, as all of their regular starters are 6'6'' or taller. Melbourne will face a tough environment playing in the Kingdome today, as one should expect a close game with a potential playoff berth on the line.

Key Player

Jordan McRae

Melbourne’s top import has been putting the league on notice, trying to show everyone that 'JChill' isn’t the only superstar in this league. The shooting guard left the game early against the Wildcats thanks to a groin injury he suffered early on in the game (potentially the warm-up according to Downtown's Liam Santamaria) in Melbourne’s last game.

Sydney isn’t known for their defensive prowess and with the Kings' multi guard line-up, McRae should be able to torch most of their on-ball defenders.

What To Watch For

It’s Raining Threes, Hallelujah

Both of these teams love to shoot it from deep, with both teams fielding teams full of long range snipers.

Expect Madgen to get his eye in early and put his long-range expertise on display. It should be another high scoring affair, and you can bet both teams will score at least high 80’s.

Neither side has a commanding post presence to rely on, with both teams deciding to run with stretch four's and even five's in their lineup. Expect a lot of outside action and not too much dirty work down low.

Final Word

With quite possibly the season on the line for the Sydney, the Kings will not want to get bogged down with the highly talented United outfit. However, it is nearly exactly what they will have to do if they are to scrub their home court clean and have fans leaving happy.

If Melbourne are to escape with a win, it pushes their margin over their rivals even further ahead in terms of that fourth and final playoff position.

Both Josh Childress and Jordan McRae take the floor together for the first time this season, with a huge opportunity to provide a highlight package and an advertisement for the league. As both players look to energise their squads, it could come down to someone else stepping up and playing a major part in grabbing a victory for their team.

Who could it be? We'll have to wait and see!

Melbourne by 5.