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NBL 2014/15 Round 6 Preview: Kings looking to hold down the fort against wiry Wildcats
Sydney Kings V Perth Wildcats
Sunday 16th September, 2:00pm local time
Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney
Odds: Sydney Kings - $2.35, Perth Wildcats - $1.55
Sunday afternoon sees the defending champion Perth Wildcats (5-2) go on the road to face the red-hot Sydney Kings (3-3). In a battle of two potential play-off teams, there is more than just momentum at stake. Both teams have tough schedules coming up and will be wanting to be on the upper half of the table by Christmas.
The Kings are coming off an impressive win over the Adelaide 36ers and NBA reject Brock Motum, who single handedly tested the Sydney side. A gargantuan stat line by player of the week Josh Childress (36 points, 19 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 blocks) kept the 36ers at bay and proved to all of his doubters (and his fans) that he is a stone-cold-killer. Playing Robin, to Childress' Batman, Ben Madgen also chipped in an efficient 26 points to show the diversity within the Kings lineup.
Perth have been going under the radar of late, quietly going about their business and proving their championship mettle. On Friday night they put away the stumbling Townsville Crocodiles behind an impressive contribution from their imports - Jermaine Beal and Deandre Daniels combined for 45 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks and 6 three-pointers. Captain Damian Martin has been a beast on the defensive end this year and will have the tough ask of keep Ben Madgen in check.
Perth are rightly the favorites in this one, but with a player like Childress, the Kings are going to have the ability to beat anyone, any night.
Childress is going to bring double and triple teams on Sunday in an attempt to limit his shot attempts and keep him off the glass. With the defensive focus elsewhere, Ben Madgen is going to have to knock down open shots and force the Wildcats to adjust and split their focus.
Averaging 14.2 points and shooting 52% from behind the arc, Madgen is an assassin who has been relishing the open looks Childress has created for him. It is no surprise his worst game of the season, occurred during Childress' suspension, where he scored seven points and failed to make a triple.
For the Kings to be competitive, all their parts need to click; that means Madgen, Kendrick Perry and Tom Garlepp must be the foundation that their franchise player needs. Expect some intensity:
What To Watch For
This game features some of the stand-out defenders in the league; Childress leads the league in rebounds and blocks (Daniels is second), Damian Martin is first in steals and Madgen is fifth. What does this mean? Childress and Daniels will remain their own worst enemies (nobody else can stop them), though role players are going to find it tough. Expect a lot of man-on-man defensive sets with low shooting percentages and major box-out battles to control the boards.
The side that wins the rebounding battle and limits their turnovers, will go a long way to winning this game. After watching the Kings the last two weeks, they look hard to beat, however, the Wildcats are an experienced squad that knows how to win in this league.
With the Kings riding the wave of momentum, this is a tough one to pick. I am expecting the Kings to throw everything at Perth, but the Wildcats simply run too deep and with Daniels rounding into form, they will be too much in a close one.
Wildcats by 3