Sat, Mar 12, 2:14pm by Kevin Pitstock
Current Ladder Positions:
Sydney – 9th (7-17), Adelaide – 8th (8-15)
Sydney’s Last Five Games:
Round 21 – defeated Melbourne (95-86)
Round 20 – lost to Townsville (96-68)
Round 20 – defeated Cairns (76-75)
Round 19 – defeated Cairns (81-69)
Round 18 – lost to Perth (98-84)
Adelaide’s Last Five Games:
Round 21 – lost to Cairns (75-70)
Round 19 – lost to Perth (82-62)
Round 19 – lost to Melbourne (86-83)
Round 18 – lost to Gold Coast (95-79)
Round 17 – lost to Sydney (99-90)
Head-To-Head Encounters in 2011:
Round 4 – Adelaide defeated Sydney (87-75)
Round 10 – Adelaide defeated Sydney (81-77)
Round 17 – Sydney defeated Adelaide (99-90)
We saw the very best of Julian Khazzouh during Sydney’s win over Melbourne in round 21. The 25-year-old was a threat all game, finishing with 28 points and five rebounds to singlehandedly get his team over the line. The big centre is averaging close to a double-double a game this season – 17.5 points and 9.9 rebounds. His teammates often look to him for inspiration, and the game against Adelaide will be no exception.
A graduate of the University of Florida, Eddie Shannon has been a somewhat handy inclusion for the 36ers this year. The 34-year-old has endured an inconsistent season, averaging 9.7 points and 4.3 assists per game. But the veteran playmaker has hit the scoreboard more frequently of late, dropping 10 points in his last two games against Perth and Cairns. Shannon will have to work well in tandem with fellow guard Rhys Carter for the Sixers to avoid an embarrassing loss to the Kings.
Sydney’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Luke Martin
SG – Ben Madgen
SF – Patrick Sanders
PF – Graeme Dann
C – Julian Khazzouh
Adelaide’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Eddie Shannon
SG – Brad Hill
SF – Jacob Holmes
PF – Adam Ballinger
C – Daniel Johnson
Ever since entering the NBL in 1988, the Kings have never claimed the dreaded wooden spoon. And after 14 losses in a row at the start of the season, it seemed as though a ninth placed finish was inevitable.
But Sydney has played like a completely different team over the past month. It has won six out of its past nine games, including a great victory over archrival Melbourne last week. In fact, Tigers interim coach Darryl McDonald labelled the Kings as the most in-form team in the competition at the moment.
The main reason behind the Kings’ revival has been the form of Khazzouh and young guard Ben Magden. The latter is said to be a certainty for the NBL Rookie of the Year award.
Conversely, Adelaide has been experiencing a serious downfall over recent weeks. It has lost its past five games by an average of 10.6 points. On current form, the 36ers are the worst team in the competition and face an even tougher run home.
If the Kings win their eight game of the season on Sunday, they will join the 36ers on the same amount of points, putting them as favourites for the wooden spoon. And if they were to finish ninth at the completion of round 25, it would be their second consecutive spoon after finishing on the bottom last year.
The way these two teams are playing right now, it’s hard to see Adelaide getting anywhere near Sydney. With Khazzouh in MVP-like form, the Kings should win comfortably at home.
Sydney by 11+ ($2.35 – Sportsbet)
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