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NBL 2014/15 Round 20 Preview: Perth to host the in form 'Crocs
Perth Wildcats (15-12) vs. Townsville Crocodiles (11-16)
Sunday, 22nd February, 2:00pm (local)
Odds: Perth $1.14, Townsville $5.75
The two teams are sitting in very different positions on the ladder, but the lower ranked team is in some form and look to take it up to their opposition.
As Perth head towards the finals, a sight NBL fans are used to seeing, they come off two loses to top four opponents before facing Townsville. After the heart-break of losing in the final second to a Cedric Jackson buzzer beater, the Wildcats lost the battle for third spot against Adelaide earlier in round 20.
Momentum and form is massive in basketball, especially going into a finals series. Teams want all their players in form and ready to go at the right time of the season. Perth have a chance to gain the momentum and include all their players with a big win over the Crocs.
Townsville will not go down without a fight, they have been in some scintillating form in recent weeks. Only last round they had a huge win over Melbourne United, winning by a ridiculous 37 points.
The Crocodiles have won four out of their last five games and have found form late in the season. It is somewhat of a pity that the team could not produce these efforts from the start of the season, it could have resulted in a different looking top four.
The Perth Arena will be loud as the passionate Perth fans warm up their voices for finals action.
This man is in some crazy form and has led his team along with Brian Conklin on this late season run they have had.
Blanchfield is scoring at will at the moment and he does not look like slowing down for this game against Perth. He had 16 points in the win over Wollongong earlier in round 20 and only two weeks ago had 27 against the second placed New Zealand Breakers, where he carried his team to a victory.
Blanchfield has a damaging outside shot, that allows him to bury three after three if left open. Adding to that, he also has the skill to be able to get to the ring and put pressure on the defence by getting the ball into the paint.
If Blanchfield is able to put on a big performance, he might be the reason the Crocs score an upset victory.
What To Watch For
A loud Perth Arena
All NBL fans know how loud and crazy Perth fans can get when supporting their team, especially when the venue is packed out as it is most weeks.
As the regular season comes to a close and the finals beckon, Perth fans know this feeling all to well and will be warming up for the finals campaign. Poor Townsville will cop the jeers and cheers of the crowd as only a Perth crowd can do.
It is historically hard to win in Perth and one of the major reasons for that is the knowledgeable and passionate crowd that fire up week in week out. Perth will need them to be louder than ever for the rest of the season if they hope to make any sort of impact in the finals
Perth have amazing depth and trust in their each one of their players. As you look down their roster it is hard to find a weak link, with the likes of Jesse Wagstaff coming off the bench. Their imports are very solid and come to play in big moments, they will both know the importance of hitting some form before the finals.
Townsville are flying at the moment and really found their stride. Hopefully they can keep the core of the roster together for next season and have a real crack at making the top four. Conklin will have to lead the way at both ends of the court if an upset is on the cards. It will be a very tough ask for the Crocs to fly to Perth and get the win there, something many teams struggle with.
It will be a tight game early before the class of Perth starts to take over.
Perth by 8