The following is the preview with betting tips for the Grand Final series, G3, of the 2019/20 NBL season.
Sunday, March 15
Sydney Kings vs Perth Wildcats
Qudos Bank Arena
G2 Recap: No Red Army, under 500 spectators in the crowd and a virus that rocked/still is rocking the nation, this was a game that had a very intense and strange atmosphere surrounding it. With the NBL prior to the match announcing that the remainder of the NBL GF Series would be played behind closed doors due to the corona virus, many were left disappointed with the choice to do so. But the game itself was anything but, as the Kings evened up the series at RAC Arena to 1-1, courtesy of a commanding 97-83 victory. Q1 saw Sydney slightly edge it, 31-27. Q2 ended in another close Kings win, 26-24. Q3 saw Perth take their turn, winning it 22-19. And Q4 saw the Kings explode, as they killed it, winning 21-10.
Tate led the way with 20PTS for Sydney, while Bogut and Lisch backed him up with 19 each. Of the other starters, Newley scored 9PTS and Ware 8. Coming of the bench, all of Bruce, Cooks, Didi and Kickert had 5PTS apiece. Tate shot an impressive 7 of 9, as he also had 3 boards and 2 dimes. Bogut shot 8/13 from the floor, as he had 13REB, 2AST and 1STL next to his name. Lisch hit 3 from beyond the arc, as his other stats included 2REB and 1AST. Newley had 5REB and 5AST, as he shot 50% from the floor. And Ware had 1REB, 2AST and 1STL, as he had another poor shooting-performance, going 30% from the court. Bruce also had 1REB and 1AST. Cooks got 10REB and 2AST. Didi had 4REB and 3AST. And ‘Kicks’ other stats included pulling in 4 boards. Moller also had 2PTS, as he made his only taken shot of the match.
For the Wildcats, Cotton led the way with 27PTS and Kay 17. And of the other starters, Plumlee scored 6PTS and both Norton and White, 5 each. Cotton hit 4 shots from deep, as he also had 5REB, 3AST and 1STL. Kay shot 60% from 2, as he got 7REB, 1AST, 1STL and 1BL. Plumlee shot 60% overall, as his other stats included 8REB and 1BL. Both White and Plumlee both shot a poor 2/6 from the floor each. White also had 3REB and 1AST next to his name. As for Norton, he had 1REB, 3AST and 1STL. Of the bench, Steindl put up 12PTS. And their other scorers were Martin with 5PTS, Wagstaff with 4 and Britt with 2, Steindl shot 50% from the floor, as he also had 1REB. Martin shot just 28.6% overall, good for 2/7 shots made, as he had 3REB, 1AST and 2STL. Wagstaff also made just 2/7 shots overall, as he pulled in 4 boards throughout the game. As for Britt, his 2 points came from just his 1 taken shot during the entire game.
Key Players: Didi.The current 20 year old and New Orleans Pelicans draft pick has been quite underwhelming so far in this years GF Series. In G1, he posted just 9 points and 1 rebound, in 21 minutes of play. Whilst making only 3/6 shots in total. 50% Is a good accuracy clip, but he should be taking significantly more then 3 shots in such an important game. Then in G2, he scored only 5 points, whilst shooting 2/8 from the field. He made just 1/4 2’s and 1/4 3’s. And over the course of the entire series, he’s taken just 2 FT’s. He needs to lift his accuracy to at least at the minimum being in and around the 40-45% mark. And he also needs to be more aggressive with the ball, in an attempt to try and draw shooting-fouls out of the Wildcats defence. That is one of his usually major strengths. The Kings have a bunch of good but not great players coming of their pine. He needs to be that GREAT guy and show Sydney and his parent-NBA club what a leader he can be, that despite his tender age. When he first played Perth this season, he was part of a side that beat the Wildcats by 19 points. In that match he scored an insane 28 points! As he also made 7 triples! He can play well against the Wildcats when he chooses to do so. And all it takes is 1 or 2 guys of Perth’s bench playing hot, when playing against the Kings 2nd unit, for Sydney to get into a lil bit of trouble. Didi needs to be there, playing well, in order to stop that. Expect Louzada to leave a significant mark on this G3.
Martin. He has scored just 8 total points in his 2 games against the Kings so far. He has gone a combined 3/11 from the field and 2/7 from 3-point range. It doesn’t matter if he’s not a great shooter, that’s simply just not good enough for a veteran and several-time Championship winner of his supposed caliber. Especially so when considering a lot of his shots have very minimal defence guarding him. Cotton is the only real Wildcat who can hold his head high this series and say that he’s genuinely and consistently helped fire up Perth’s offence. I’m not even sure Kay would be able to say that. But now its up to the captain to help the ex-NBA guy out and create some shots for the one-man Wildcats show. He needs to lead by example and go straight at it, or alternatively, he needs to show of his silky Rondo-like passing skills and create more good looks for his team-mates. If he can fix that for this game, it’ll go a massive way to helping Perth gain a 2-1 series lead. Defensively wise, he’s been great. He has a total of 5 steals across the pair of matches played this season. He’s a MASSIVE asset in that regard. He needs to keep that up. Expect both these factors of his game to be extremely prevalent in this one. Whether for better or for worse.
What Should Happen: The Kings lost by 2 in the first game and won by 14 in the second, all with Casper Ware plating quite badly. Is it possible that the Kings have figured out how to stay in games/ win games, despite their star-man putting in awful shooting-performances? In 2 games against Sydney, Cotton has scored 27 and 32 points. 3 Matches before that, he exploded for 42 points against Cairns. So regardless of how Ware matches up against Cotton, Cotton will always keep the Wildcats in this encounter with his offensive skills and capabilities alone. But the Wildcats just won’t be able to win it if nobody else steps up for them. Just to take one example from last game, Bogut absolutely dominated Plumlee close to the rim. He was walking all over him and walking all past him to score with ease. In the Battle of the Bigs, Bogut destroyed him and it wasn’t even close. And he’s done that for the past 2 matches of this series now. Somebody like him will/should step step up in this one. And with Cotton feeding him good looks, I expect the man with season averages of 9.0PPG and 7.0RPG to have a huge say on the outcome of this game. And in Ware’s absence, for Sydney, Bruce will strep up big time to the plate. He’s been around the NBL for a while and this campaign at the Kings, has proven himself to be a simply amazing backup PG. He plays hard, can make tough shots and is a real lader, both on and of the court. Bruce, Cotton and Plumlee will all leave their marks on this clash in one way or another.
Ultimate Defining Factors: -Next to no crowd. Sydney obviously coped with it better in G2. But how will they cope with no crowd at home, at Qudos Bank Arena in G3. It’s like something they’ve never quite experienced before. And all season-long, the Kings passionate home-crowd is what has willed them on and given them the motivation to do what they’ve done. And in both their wins against Melbourne, the home-crowd was probably the reason they got home in the end. So how both teams, especially Sydney, deal with it, will play a huge factor in the eventual result of what should be a closely contested and somewhat fiery clash.
-How Cotton performs. I truly believe that with the way Cotton has played against the Kings, all season long, if he were to be playing them with a State League Team, or any team on a level below the NBL, he could legitimately challenge Sydney, or any other team in the NBL for that matter, that’s just how good he is! He is a freak offensively. He is also one of the Wildcats biggest leaders. And he lets his beast performances do the talking for him. No matter what the score is, Perth will always have a chance at taking out the game, due to him and him alone. Regardless of how the rest of his team performs, expect him to put up 25+ points in this one.
Best Bets for the Game:
-Pick Sydney to win the match at $1.52 (Bet365).
-Also pick them to win the 1st quarter at $1.68 (UniBet).
-And back the Wildcats to win the 2nd quarter at $2.28 (UniBet).
-Finally, whenever the odds are released for it, back Sydney to win the race to both 10 and 20 points first.