NBL 2014/15 Round 18 Preview: ‘Cats look to build momentum at home

Perth Wildcats vs. Cairns Taipans

Friday 6th February, 2015 – 9.30pm (local time)

Perth Arena

Odds: Perth $1.60, Cairns $2.30

Tickets: Click here

Perth will host Cairns in a match with plenty riding on it for both sides.

The Wildcats are coming off a much-needed thumping of Sydney last week, snapping their skid and putting them back on track for a top four finish. Matt Knight returned to bolster his side in the frontcourt, while Damian Martin did it all, even on the score sheet, as he was at his brilliant best.

Cairns will be looking to keep pace with the Breakers as they race for top spot, and are coming off a tough win over Wollongong last week. The Taipans needed a brilliant defensive effort in the final term to sneak home and will look to build on that momentum this week.

Key Player

Matt Burston View image | gettyimages.com Last week, Knight was instrumental in his return to Perth’s line-up as they got a much-needed victory over Sydney, while Tom Jervis continues to do the hard work around the rim every night.

Burston is therefore the key for Cairns, with the veteran forward known for his ability to shut down the opposition’s best big while being ultra-efficient at the offensive end himself.

After their performance last week, slowing down the Knight/Jervis combination is imperative if the Snakes are to get a vital win, away from home, against one of their playoff competitors, and keep pace with the Breakers for top billing on the ladder.

What To Watch For

Finals-like intensity

With Perth fighting for their playoff spot and Cairns fighting for home court, this match is sure to provide a preview of what the finals will be like.

Inside the cauldron that is Perth Arena, in front of 13,000 fans, with plenty on the line, both sides will be full of running and desperate to grab a win.

Final Word

After Perth got back on track last week and with Cairns rolling, the scene is set for a brilliant clash between these two sides.

The battle between Martin and Scottie Wilbekin should prove enthralling, and if the Snakes point guard can break the defensive shackles of the Perth veteran it will go a long way to getting his side the W.

The Wildcats looked much better last week than in the previous month but the playoff-bound Taipans will provide a much tougher test than the injury-riddled and out of contention Kings.

The fortress that was Perth Arena for so long has been penetrated in recent times and the ‘Cats look a shadow of their former selves right now, and while writing them off would be downright stupid, the visitors are playing better basketball right now.

Cairns by 2