Wed, Jan 10, 11:12am by Staff Writer
The top four teams in the NBL all had wins last weekend, with the Perth Wildcats, New Zealand Breakers and Melbourne United in a three way tie for top spot, only separated by points differential.
The Illawarra Hawks, Cairns Taipans and Brisbane Bullets need to win nearly all of their remaining matches and with only six weeks to go, time is running out for those teams to make the playoffs.
Perth Wildcats versus Melbourne United
Friday, 12 January 2018 at 9.35pm AEDST
The Perth Wildcats easily accounted for the Sydney Kings last weekend 76-68 and regained top spot on the NBL ladder.
Melbourne United are on a six game winning streak, escaping with a 79-77 win over a spirited Illawarra Hawks team.
This match could have enormous playoff implications, given both teams have an identical 12-6 record and are only separated by points differential.
Perth thumped Melbourne United in their most recent meeting 91-59. That match was the lowest points total Melbourne have scored all season and was a significant low point in their season.
Many are pointing to that result as being ‘season defining’ for Melbourne United and since then they have showcased their championship credentials.
The Wildcats have shown some recent vulnerability at home, with a loss to the Brisbane Bullets last month, but they will be focused and desperate to beat one of their fiercest rivals for this year’s title.
Best bet- Perth Wildcats to cover -4.5 at $1.94
Sydney Kings versus Adelaide 36ers
Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 5.35pm AEDST
The Sydney Kings (5-15) are well and truly out of finals contention after an abysmal season. They host the Adelaide 36ers (11-8) who are three games clear of 5th placed Illawarra, but will be wanting to secure victory against the lowly kings to cement their position in the top four.
Adelaide had two wins last weekend against the Perth Wildcats and Brisbane Bullets, whereas the Sydney Kings fell to the Perth Wildcats.
These two teams have not met since mid November where the 36ers crushed the Kings 108-93.
The offensive that Adelaide possesses through Daniel Johnson, Mitch Creek and Ramone Moore is far more consistent than any of the offensive threats the Kings possess.
36ers coach Joey Wright coached MVP Jerome Randle last season and will know the point guard’s strengths and weaknesses, making this a nightmare matchup for the Kings.
Adelaide are simply the better team and with more to play for at this point in the season.
Best bet- Adelaide 36ers to cover -2.5 points at $1.86
Illawarra Hawks versus New Zealand Breakers
Saturday, 13 January 2018 at 7.35pm AEDST
The Illawarra Hawks lost a heartbreaker last Saturday to Melbourne United 79-77 and have left themselves an enormous task to make the playoffs.
With only six weeks remaining, the Hawks are three games behind the 4th placed 36ers and will need as many wins as possible in the lead up to the playoffs.
The New Zealand Breakers (12-6) are currently in third place on points differential, but have endured a difficult last month.
The Breakers have played below par on the road, losing to the 36ers twice and beating the lowly Kings by just three points.
Last weekend New Zealand found form with a 12-point win against the Cairns Taipans.
Illawarra are tough to beat at home and have played some of the leagues best in Perth and Melbourne very close at the Snake Pit.
We expect the Hawks to triumph in a must-win scenario on Saturday night.
Best bet- Illawarra Hawks to win at $1.78
All odds provided by Sportsbet
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