NBL 2014/15 Round 5 Preview: Things are heating up north; can the Breakers cool Cairns off?

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Cairns Taipans vs. New Zealand Breakers

Friday, 7 November, 7:30pm Local time

Cairns Convention Centre

Tickets: Click here

Odds: Taipans $1.48, Breakers $2.65

These sides met only 2 weeks ago, with the Taipans coming away with a convincing win. After an impressive performance against the Kings last week the Taipans now sit top of the table with an imposing 6-0 record. The brilliant play of Scottie Wilbekin has led this team to an unpredictable start. The Taipans have been methodically tearing teams apart each week, expect this week to be no different. The boys from Queensland are at home tonight and will look to give the locals something to look forward to after a week of work. Look for Scottie to lead the team in scoring tonight and get some help down low from the consistent Alex Loughton.

For the Breakers, they come off a close loss to a solid Adelaide team last week. Adam Gibson dropped 34 on this team last week, so expect Wilbekin to take advantage of NZ’s guards early and often. He’ll face Ekene Ibekwe at the ring though, Ibekwe had an incredible 6 blocks last game and could be in the running for DPOY this year. If Alex Pledger and Tom Abercrombie can get it going this should be a close game, however if neither of those guys can produce, this could be over quickly.

Key Player

Cedric Jackson

The NZ point man will be charged with slowing down Wilbekin, which is no easy task. In the last outing Wilbekin dropped 24 & 9 on NZ’s import. He will have to do a better job of slowing the Taipains main man down, if the Breakers want to have a chance in this one.

As well as this, he will have to control the tempo for his own team. Cairns has been brilliant so far at controlling the speed of the game and forcing opponents to play out of their game. Jackson will have to steady the offence tonight and try his best to keep Wilbekin on lockdown.

What To Watch For

Wilbekin vs Jackson round 2 (ding ding)

I know I sound like a broken record, but both of these teams live and die by their point guards. Jackson once again looks like he will be second fiddle to Wilbekin. This is one of the few times this year we will get to see these two go head to head and battle it out.

While I doubt we will see any Dion Waiters/Tim Hardaway type battles (check out YouTube if you don’t know what I’m talking about). These two will go right at each other. I expect Jackson to play with a chip on his shoulder, after Wilbekin clearly won the first match up.

Final Word

Cairns is playing a level above any other team in the NBL right now, they are flowing on all cylinders. NZ on the other hand currently sits fourth on the table and still have some things to figure out. I expect NZ to be hungry to get a win tonight, especially after loosing the first game to Cairns. This one will be close, but Cairns is just too good right now to lose. THE STREAK CONTINUES

Cairns by 8