Sat, Apr 2, 12:42am by Kevin Pitstock
Current Ladder Positions:
Melbourne – 7th (10-17), New Zealand – 1st (21-6)
Melbourne’s Last Five Games:
Round 24 – lost to Townsville (82-72)
Round 23 – lost to Gold Coast (82-81)
Round 23 – defeated Adelaide (79-76)
Round 22 – lost to Cairns (79-63)
Round 21 – lost to Sydney (95-86)
New Zealand’s Last Five Games:
Round 25 – defeated Adelaide (100-71)
Round 23 – defeated Sydney (91-86)
Round 22 – lost to Townsville (100-92)
Round 21 – defeated Townsville (66-65)
Round 20 – lost to Wollongong (104-81)
Head-To-Head Encounters in 2011:
Round 3 – New Zealand defeated Melbourne (84-79)
Round 10 – New Zealand defeated Melbourne (90-80)
Round 18 – New Zealand defeated Melbourne (101-91)
Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams is one of the favourites for this season’s MVP award. The extravagant point guard has been a picture of consistency in 2010/11, averaging 17.9 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game. Despite a number of other big names in the Tiger line-up, Williams has always been heavily relief upon to produce when his team needs it most. If he can produce a big game tonight, his chances of winning the MVP will increase dramatically.
Tom Abercrombie produced an outstanding individual game against the 36ers on Wednesday night. The 23-year-old accumulated a season-high 26 points at an impressive field goal percentage of 55. Abercrombie averaged 15.4 points per game over his first five games of this season, but has struggled for consistency since then. His performance against the 36ers will hopefully kick-start a good run of form.
Melbourne’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Corey Williams
SG – Daryl Corletto
SF – Tommy Greer
PF – Cameron Tragardh
C – Matthew Burston
New Zealand’s Possible Starting Five:
PG – Paul Henare
SG – Kirk Penney
SF – Tom Abercrombie
PF – Mika Vukona
C – Gary Wilkinson/BJ Anthony
The final match of the home-and-away season sees the best team of 2010/11 take on perhaps the best team of the past decade.
New Zealand has nothing to play for now, but also has nothing to lose. It’ll host the Wildcats at home next week, but it first has to deal with the Tigers.
Gary Wilkinson sat out the game against the 36ers on Wednesday night due to the flu and will not be risked for this game either if he has not fully recovered. If Wilkinson doesn’t play, BJ Anthony will start at centre.
The Tigers’ season has finished somewhat disappointingly, losing four of their past five games. Despite leading by seven points at the three-quarter time break against the Crocs last weekend, they found a way to let the game slip during a horrific 12-29 final term.
Besides Williams, Cameron Tragardh holds the key to a Tigers victory. The power forward dropped a season-high 35 points the last time these two teams met and will be looking for a similar impact this time round. Opposition power forward Mika Vukona will have to play tight defense on Tragardh to nullify his influence on the game.
A Breakers victory would mean they have defeated the Tigers on five out of their last six matches. However you get the feeling the Breakers might play pretty conservatively tonight, in order to make sure their best team is available for the start of the playoffs.
With Williams and Tragardh set for a big finish, the Tigers should win a tight one.
Best Head-To-Head Bet:
Melbourne straight ($2.60 – Centrebet)
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