NBL 2014/15 Round 16 Preview: Season on line for Kings across the ditch

New Zealand Breakers vs. Sydney Kings

Friday, 23rd January – 7.30pm (local time)

Vector Arena

Odds: New Zealand $1.18, Sydney $5.00

Tickets: Click here

New Zealand will have the opportunity to cement top spot and effectively end Sydney’s season when they host the Kings to open round 16 of the NBL season.

The Breakers staved off a firm challenge from Melbourne at home last week before running away late in the game behind Cedric Jackson’s brilliant triple-double, while the likes of Tom Abercrombie and Mika Vukona are also picking up their output as the season heads into the business end.

Sydney are coming off a weekend of mixed results, accounting for Townsville before narrowly falling to Cairns in a heartbreaker a day later. Josh Childress was again the anchor but the promising form of Tom Garlepp and the introduction of veteran Nick Horvath show the Kings have the frontcourt depth to mix it with the better sides.

Key Player

Jason Cadee View image | gettyimages.com Sydney falls down in its backcourt and has done so all season long, with the inconsistent duo of Ben Madgen and Kendrick Perry starring one week before disappearing the next.

While Childress was sidelined, enigmatic guard Jason Cadee stepped up on the offensive end and showed he has the ability to break games wide open, even earning a starting spot ahead of his import teammate in Perry.

His production has dropped off in the past fortnight, however, and a return to form is what Sydney desperately needs, particularly when they face off against what is one of the best backcourts in the league in Jackson and Corey Webster.

What To Watch For

Two MVP front-runners facing off

Jackson and Childress are two of the absolute stars of the league and both are among the favourites to take out the 2014/15 league MVP.

Jackson exploded back to his brilliant best last week, registering 16 points, 10 boards and 11 assists in a reflection of the type of output we have come to expect from the NBA-level point guard.

At the other end of the floor is Childress, the well-travelled former NBA star who has simply dominated the league this season and, if not for his hamstring troubles over the past six weeks, would likely have the MVP award in the bag at this stage of the campaign.

Watching these two guys in action is just about as good as it will get in the NBL, certainly this season and possibly ever.

Final Word

The Breakers are firing on all cylinders and the Kings, while they have been in relatively good form themselves, will have their work well and truly cut out if they want to keep in touch with Perth, Melbourne and Adelaide in the race for fourth place.

Childress has been in good form since returning from injury but isn’t near the level everyone got used to pre-hamstring strain, and this is the perfect stage for a stellar game from the former NBA star.

Unfortunately for he and his Kings teammates, the likes of Jackson and co. stand in their way, and with a number of Breakers hitting form at the right end of the season, it will be very tough for Sydney to escape Vector Arena with the precious W.

New Zealand by 7