NBL 2014/15 Round 9 Preview: 36ers and Crocs look to claw their way up from the bottom

Townsville Crocodiles vs Adelaide 36ers

Friday, December 5, 7:30pm (local)

Townsville RSL Stadium

Tickets: http://www.crocodiles.com.au/ticket-prices

Odds: Townsville $1.55, Adelaide $2.45

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Townsville did an admirable job against Cairns last week, limiting superstar point Scottie Wilbekin to 11 points and 31% shooting. However, it was their inability to stop the Taipan’s big men that saw them go down. Brian Conklin has been struggling recently; he has slowly been declining in nearly every statistical category since the early rounds.

Todd Blanchfield has been the only consistent player in this squad for the last few weeks, with the off-guard scoring almost at will, utilizing his size at the position to get rebounds as well. Luckily for Townsville this week, they face Adelaide, a team which has had serious problems on the defensive end. If Townsville want to win this one, they will need to limit Adam Gibson and find a way to stop Brock Motum from having his way in the paint.

For Adelaide, their failure to get stops at critical moments has them on a 5 game losing streak. After dropping a close one to the Kings last week, the 36ers have their best chance to end their streak this week.

Motum had a poor game last week and the forward will need a big game on both ends for Adelaide to have a chance. Gibson has been solid each game at the guard spot, and the return of both Jamar Wilson and Mitch Creek should slowly begin to help this team, as they work their way back into the rotation.

Key Player:

Brendan Teys

The 36ers and the Crocodiles benches have both provided limited help to their respective squads. Mitch Creek returned to the 36ers starting five last week, that moved Brendan Teys to the bench. In that game, he had 16 points against a strong Kings unit. The 36ers will need him to proved a similar spark off the bench, with his scoring and shooting ability this week.

He should spend time against Mirko Djeric. Whilst the young gun is doing a commendable job against older competition, Teys should be able to get himself into some easy looks. If he can score 15+ tomorrow night the 36ers could come away with the win, if not it might be the Crocs who get revenge on their round one matchup with Adelaide.

What to Watch for:

Conklin going head to head with Motum

Conklin might just be the “Charles Barkley” of the NBL. The undersized 4-man uses his brute strength and athleticism to punish guys under the rim. After a string of average games, the Crocs import needs to come out strong in this one. His rebounding numbers have been down and so have his scoring numbers, since the start of the season.

At the other end, Motum was expected to come in and dominate the NBL. In his first few games it looked like he was going to be a consistent 20-10 guy. Many expected he would use his elite skills and strength to lead the 36ers to the playoffs. So far the reality has been some what disappointing, just like Conklin, his rebounding and scoring numbers are both down since his first few games.

Both of these guys are critical for any success their teams have. Who gets the better of this match up may just help his team enough to get them a desperately needed win.

Final Word:

This one is tough, the 36ers and Crocs are neck and neck on the ladder at the moment. It really could be a toss up on the night. Adelaide should be hungry for a win, their hopes of turning things around and making the playoffs are fading fast. Townsville sit one spot higher, but are suffering from potentially the same fate as the boys from down south. Townsville has the advantage of home crowd support in this one, so they get the nod, but only just.

Townsville by 3