Thu, Dec 21, 8:15am by Staff Writer
Teams at the top of the NBL ladder suffered surprise losses last weekend. The Perth Wildcats were defeated at home by the Brisbane Bullets, while the New Zealand Breakers suffered a final quarter collapse to lose by 17 points to the Adelaide 36ers.
Despite those defeats, the Wildcats and Breakers still comfortably occupy the top two positions on the ladder.
Melbourne United notched up an important road win at Illawarra, but the victory came at a cost, with star Casey Prather suffering an elbow injury.
The Sydney Kings were the most impressive they have been all season in an 88-69 win against the Cairns Taipans. The Taipans remain winless at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, losing all eight games they have played at the venue.
Sydney Kings versus New Zealand Breakers
Thursday, 21 December 2017 at 7.30pm AEDST
The Sydney Kings finally gave their suffering fans hope on Sunday afternoon with a dominating win against the Cairns Taipans. Despite falling behind 18-4 early, the Kings rallied and on the back of a dominant second half, produced their best victory of the season.
The Kings remain firmly cemented at the bottom of the league table with only three wins through 15 games, but Sunday’s win may be the kick start to a late season winning streak for them.
After winning nine consecutive games, the New Zealand Breakers have dropped their last three matches.
The international break came at the worst possible time for the Breakers, who have suffered back-to-back losses to the Adelaide 36ers, as well as a loss to the Wildcats.
A trip to Sydney to face a hungry Sydney Kings team should present Paul Henare’s team with an opportunity to overturn this recent poor form.
The Kings showed enough on Sunday afternoon to make us a believer in them and they are bound to get a few more victories as the season rolls on.
New Zealand’s lack of offense in the second-half against Adelaide was concerning, as they have become a team too reliant on too few players to score the basketball.
Against a Kings team that has many offensive weapons, we are backing Sydney to make it two in a row on Thursday night.
Best bet- Sydney Kings to win at $1.83 at Sportsbet
Melbourne United versus Adelaide 36ers
Friday, 22 December 2017 at 7.30pm AEDST
Melbourne United finally strung together consecutive victories, after a hard-fought win over the Illawarra Hawks on Sunday night.
United go into this clash with the 36ers without Casey Prather, who suffered a horrific elbow injury in the second-half on Saturday night.
The 36ers have been soundly beaten by United this season, both at home and in Melbourne.
The loss of Prather is immense for United, given the fact that his athleticism and ability to get to the rim are unmatched by any player on either team.
The 36ers will have gained confidence from a comeback win against one of the leagues best teams in the New Zealand Breakers last week.
Melbourne United will need to see a lift in production from point guard Casper Ware as well as their bench brigade.
The 36ers are a value bet given the situation and the fact that United struggled at times in the second-half against the Hawks without Prather.
Best bet- Adelaide 36ers to win at $2.37 at Sportsbet
Illawarra Hawks versus Perth Wildcats
Saturday, 23 December 2017 at 7.30pm AEDST
The Illawarra Hawks are in desperate need of a win and have largely been disappointing this season, winning only five of their 13 games thus far.
The Wildcats are coming off an 82-76 loss to the Brisbane Bullets in a match where the Bullets had the ascendency from the opening tip.
The Hawks are desperate for more production from A.J Ogilvy who has been scoreless in his last three games.
Ogilvy has the ability to be a point of difference between the two teams, given Perth’s lack of size at the centre position. His output in this game will be crucial the Hawks success on Saturday night.
Illawarra are almost in must-win mode and if not for a season-best performance from Bryce Cotton in their match a fortnight ago, the Hawks would have beaten the Wildcats.
We believe they will sneak home with a win on Saturday night against a road-weary Wildcats team.
Best bet- Illawarra Hawks to win at $2.10 at Sportsbet
NBL Round 11 odds
Sydney $1.83 New Zealand $1.83
Melbourne $1.53 Adelaide $2.37
Brisbane $1.61 Sydney $2.20
Illawarra $2.10 Perth $1.66
Adelaide $1.36 Cairns $2.87
*Odds at Sportsbet
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