NBL 2014/15 Round 17 Preview: Sydney face mission impossible in clash with Wildcats

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Perth Wildcats (13-10) Vs. Sydney Kings (9-13)

Sunday 1st February, 2:00pm local time

Perth Arena, Perth

Odds: Perth - $1.14, Sydney - $5.75

Tickets: here

The Sydney Kings venture into dangerous territory on Sunday afternoon, playing a wounded Perth squad without their franchise player Josh Childress. Childress, who is out for the season with a torn-pectoral, leaves a gaping whole as the Kings leading point scorer, rebounder and blocker.

Perth have lost their last two games at home and five of their last six games in total. In that time span they have scored 80 points just twice as their offense continues to struggle at the business end of the season. The Wildcats return home licking their wounds after Friday nights loss to the Breakers in Auckland and will be in dire need of a victory against the Kings.

The bookies have Perth as the overwhelming favorite and historically Sydney have not won in Perth since 2008. Sydney will be determined to break their hoodoo and will also have the added incentive of proving that they can win without Childress.

Key Player

Tom Garlepp

With Matthew Knight out injured, Perth has struggled to defend and score in the paint. Thei inability to score on high percentage shots is a major reason for their offensive woes. If the Kings are to take advantage of this, Tom Garelpp must own the middle.

Garlepp has been flashing his skill-set in recent weeks, scoring in double figures in six straight games and averaging over 5 rebounds in that span. With Childress on the sidelines the Kings will need to find rebounds and points in the paint and Garlepp should be one of the primary benefactors from "Chill's" absence.

He has done it before and can do it again:

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What to watch for

Will the Kings bring the heat?

This match-up could be over very early if the Kings are not focused. Condsidering their injury woes, ladder position (out of playoffs) and travel time, they have a lot going against them. Count them out if you dare as this competition has proved time and again that anybody can win on a given night.

Outside of Damian Martin and DeAndre Daniels the Wildcats have struggled to put the ball in the basket. They have been playing their worst basketball at the worst time of the season and need to right their ship if they are to make any noise in the post-season. Guard Jermaine Beal has shot just 31% in his last four games which is simply not good enough for a player who takes double digit shot attempts.

As weak as Sydney is on paper, they have a great opportunity to steal a road victory over a wounded and confused team.

Final Word

If Perth is serious about contending for the title they simply cannot afford to lose a game like this. Momentum is key in the post-season and they currently without a smidgen of it. Trevor Gleeson should have his players mentally prepared to treat the Kings as equal foes and they should come away with an easy victory.

Perth by 13