NBL 2014/15 Round 20 Preview: Melbourne Play Host to Kings in Final Game of Season
|Ethan Johnson||Feb 22, 2015|
Melbourne United vs. Sydney Kings
Sunday, February 22, 2:00pm (local)
Hisense Arena, Melbourne
Odds: Melbourne $1.25; Sydney $4
After a thrilling game on Friday, these two teams will square off again in their last match of the season. With both teams being eliminated from playoff contention there is nothing left for either squad to play for except pride. Melbourne faces Sydney at home; each squad has been decimated by injuries. With the total injury list leaving very few healthy bodies left to compete.
Sydney will be without Josh Childress, Ben Madgen and Kevin White, which pretty much means that the starting five will be filled with guys who normally come off the bench. The game should again give Jason Cadee and Daniel Joyce a chance to get some good court time and show the coaches what they could bring to next years squad. For Kendrick Perry, it is one last chance to show his ability before he continues his professional career. The import for the Kings was mostly shadowed by his well-known teammate Childress. I expect this could be another close game after both sides fought right to the buzzer only 2 nights ago.
For Melbourne, they play without David Barlow and Owen Odigie, who both sit on the sidelines with injuries. While many expect Daniel Kickert and Lucas Walker to play through their injuries, with no playoffs on the line I think both could see reduced minutes. Regardless of who is on the court, United will fight right to the end and with Jordan McRae still being present on the court, plenty of highlight reel action is sure to be seen. Melbourne still have the advantage as at least Mark Worthington, Kickart, McRae, Stephen Dennis and Walker are expected to suit up.
The heart and soul of any basketball team, you know that Wortho is going to fight right to the final buzzer of the season to get that win. With that in mind, Worthington is our key player after leading United in minutes played on Friday, you know the Aussie is going to ask to be on the court as much as possible.
Whilst his numbers don’t necessarily highlight his contributions, it's his actions that don’t show up in the box score that make the difference. Whether it be taking a charge, boxing out someone much bigger than him or all those hustle plays that he makes, Worthington's impact on the game is far greater than many people realise. If your team is playing against him you hate him, but if he plays of your squad, you love him. I expect his impact to play a role tonight.
What To Watch For
Another Break Out Game for a Kings Young Gun
Cadee played well on Friday, scoring 16 points, dishing out 4 assists and grabbing 3 boards. The young kid from Bankstown has been improving his play each week. He appeared more comfortable in his role and playing on the big stage, in his hometown as the season went on. As well as Cadee, Joyce provided a pleasant surprise as he managed 15 points and a couple of boards for good measure. If he continues to pick his spots he may have a future with the team.
I’m sure many Kings fans would love to see Madol Chol get some minutes. As the Kings most athletic big, he has barely seen the court all year and in a game that doesn’t matter who wouldn’t want to see someone who can throw one down like no one else on the squad.
This game is a dead rubber, with nothing but pride on the line and injuries robbing NBL fans of one more great contest between these two teams the final result really shouldn’t matter. Instead NBL fans I say, lets focus on watch the players. Who should be on your team next year? Who would you like to see wearing your home teams jersey? When the final buzzer sounds I’m sure there will be a clearer picture and both teams can set their sites on next season. After Friday night’s game was so close, I really don’t want to have to try and predict the winner. But I will anyway.
Melbourne by 5