Thu, Mar 17, 2:17pm by Kevin Pitstock
Current Ladder Positions:
Adelaide – 8th (8-17), Melbourne – 7th (9-15)
Adelaide’s Last Five Games:
Round 22 – lost to Sydney (76-72)
Round 22 – lost to Wollongong (87-60)
Round 21 – lost to Cairns (75-70)
Round 19 – lost to Perth (82-62)
Round 19 – lost to Melbourne (86-83)
Melbourne’s Last Five Games:
Round 22 – lost to Cairns (79-63)
Round 21 – lost to Sydney (95-86)
Round 19 – defeated Cairns (70-63)
Round 19 – defeated Adelaide (86-83)
Round 18 – lost to New Zealand (101-91)
Head-To-Head Encounters in 2011:
Round 12 – Melbourne defeated Adelaide (87-66)
Round 19 – Melbourne defeated Adelaide (86-83)
Jacob Holmes will probably be forced to play in a higher position against the Tigers on Friday night. With inconsistent centre Daniel Johnson expected to be replaced by guard Rhys Carter in the starting line-up, Holmes will have to move from small forward to power forward. The 27-year-old has been solid off the glass this year, averaging 6.7 rebounds a game. But he will need to improve on his average of 4.7 points per game to give Adelaide a genuine chance of victory.
Cameron Tragardh returns to the Tigers’ line-up after missing last week’s loss to Cairns. The 27-year-old has been an important member of the team since joining the club before the start of the 2010/11 season, averaging 12 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. The power forward, who has been involved with three different NBL teams since 2004, will be keen to make an immediate impact against the 36ers in his return game, particularly on offense.
Adelaide’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Eddie Shannon
SG – Rhys Carter
SF – Brad Hill
PF – Jacob Holmes
C – Adam Ballinger
Melbourne’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Corey Williams
SG – Darryl Corletto
SF – Tommy Greer
PF – Cameron Tragardh
C – Matthew Burston
Usually, Melbourne and Adelaide would be clubs vying for a top four point at this stage of the season. However, this time round, both will only be playing for pride – nothing else.
The 36ers loss to Sydney last week marked their seventh consecutive loss, dropping them to the bottom spot on the NBL ladder. If their losing streak continues and the in-form Kings win at least one more game for the season, they will ‘win’ their second consecutive wooden spoon.
Adelaide did show some promising signs against Sydney last week, but were blown away in the final quarter, with the Kings outscoring the 36ers 24-15.
Interim Tigers coach Darryl McDonald has done a great job since replacing Al Westover halfway through the season. But it’s become very clear his team can’t wait till the end of the season.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect to come out of the Tigers’ loss to Cairns last week was the form of Matthew Burston. The big centre scored 18 points and brought down 11 rebounds – including five off the offensive glass – to continue his good form over the past month.
The Tigers’ top five players look far too strong for the 36ers. Tragardh’s return to the power forward position will be crucial and he will match-up well with arguably the 36ers’ best player Adam Ballinger. And don’t forget the Tigers also have the best assist player in Corey Williams at their disposal too.
It will be tight, but Melbourne should prevail.
Melbourne by under 10.5 ($3.30 – Centrebet)
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