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NBL 2014/15 Round 20 Preview: City pride on the line in cross-state clash
Sydney Kings vs. Melbourne United
Friday, 20th February, 2015 – 7.30pm (local time)
Qantas Credit Union Arena
Tickets: Click here
Two of the year’s disappointments in Melbourne and Sydney will do battle twice in the final round, with the first match in Sydney to open the weekend.
The Kings haven’t won at home since beating Perth in Round 11 – the match that Josh Childress infamously injured his hamstring – and will be looking to end that unwanted streak when they welcome a team that is struggling even more. That task was made more difficult with the news that Ben Madgen will miss the final round with a dislocated shoulder.
United have fallen from title contender to wooden spoon look-a-like in the past month, dropping five straight – including four to Townsville and Wollongong. A loss to the Kings would mean they have dropped a fifth game to the bottom two sides (at the time) in the last four weeks.
Kendrick Perry/Jason Cadee View image | gettyimages.com While Childress has been missing for a while, the Kings will now have to get used to life without Madgen for two games to end the season, meaning that Perry and Cadee will suddenly be thrust into the spotlight.
The duo will need to step it up in the scoring department to cover for the loss of their sharp-shooting teammate, and both have the talent to do so.
If one of them can hit the scoreboard in a big way, it will put the pressure on Melbourne’s brittle offense to follow suit and may well mean a win for the Kings.
What To Watch For
Two talented guards looking to bounce back into form
Kendrick Perry and Stephen Dennis are both very talented and skilful point guards, however their recent form has dipped and their entire season is probably best summed up as inconsistent.
Without Madgen in the line-up, expect Perry to have the ball in his hands much more, with the latter stages of their loss to Wollongong last week being Exhibit A.
Dennis, meanwhile, had a shocker in Townsville and will be looking to get back to his explosive best that had Melbourne looking like a title threat mid-way through the season.
Both Sydney and Melbourne are struggling and both look like they are simply waiting it out until the end of the regular season at this point after promising campaigns fell to pieces.
Without Childress or Madgen, the Kings will be up against it as they look to break their lengthy home court losing streak.
Luckily for them, Melbourne’s form over the past month has been wooden spoon worthy and they don’t look capable of beating anybody right now.
With the teams facing off in Melbourne later in the weekend, the Kings will be desperate to kick the home-home series off with a win in front of their suffering fans.
Sydney by 2