The following are previews with betting tips for Game 3 of the semi-finals series of the 2019/20 NBL season.
Thursday, March 5
Sydney Kings v Melbourne United
Qudos Bank Arena
Game Two Recap- 125-80 Was the score-line at Melbourne Arena last time out. This came as Melbourne United scored the absolutely humongous thrashing over the dismantled Sydney Kings. At one point a dominant Melbourne side scored 38 points in succession without reply from the whimpering Kings. They also led in excess of 55+ points at one stage. This was a completely one-sided affair from the home-team and one that won’t be forgotten in a hurry. United won Q1, 26-24, as they edged it out. Q2, they were powerful and then some. They kept the Kings to 7 points, while scoring 32 themselves. Q3 they exploded again, as they won 45-24. And in Q4 they took their foot of the gas pedal a little bit as the majority of that period was played by their bench guys. But they still only lost 25-22. As a result of this insane game, United now head to Sydney with all the momentum in the world behind them for G3.
Of the starters for Melbourne, Long had a huge 26PTS, Kidd posted 18PTS, Ili got 14PTS and Goulding ended up with 10PTS. And of the pine, Trimble had 21PTS, Acuil got 17PTS and Pledger had 8PTS. It was such a team effort from Melbourne in this one, with everybody contributing strongly. Long hit 10/13 shots, as he also got 11REB, 1AST and 1STL. Kidd hit 4 3’s, as his other stats included 4REB and 1BL. Ili shot 62.5% from the floor, as he also got 1REB, 3AST and 1STL next to his name. Goulding went 3/3 from the FT line, as he had 1REB, 3AST and 1STL. Trimble shot 7/13, as he had 2REB and 2STL. Acuil made 3 from beyond the arc, as he ended up with 5REB and 3AST. And Pledger shot 3/5, as he got 2REB and 1BL.
For the Kings Tate and Walker were the only impressive players for the side that went down by 45 points. Tate scored 18 points, as he made 5/7 2’s. He also had 6REB and 1AST. Walker shot a perfect 4/4 from the court en route to 10PTS, as he also had 3REB, 1AST and 1STL. Bogut went 0/1 for 0 points. Cooks went 2/6 for 6 points. Lisch went 1/2 for 3 points. Ware went 3/9 for 10 points. Bruce went 1/6 for 4 points. Hunter had 0 points, although he took 0 shots. Kickert went 2/4 for 9 points. Didi went 3/10 for 10 points. Moller went 2/7 for 8 points. And Newley went 2/7 for 2 points. Poor shooting was a major issue from most guys not named Tate and Walker. They were terrible in this match, there’s no sugar coating it.
Key Players- There’s a lot of people in Kings uniforms who need to step up their efforts big time in this one, but chief among them is Bogut. He’s a former NO.1 Draft Pick, has won an NBA Championship, has played in another NBA Finals Series, has won an NBL MVP Award and has also won a NBL DPOY Award. And yet, despite all of his experience and accolades, he’s choking big time in his two games vs United. In G1 against Melbourne, he produced just 3 total points. And now in his most recent outing, he scored 0. He also had only 2REB and 0BL in G2. That’s not good enough for somebody of his pay grade and of his stature. Shawn Long is absolutely wrecking him throughout these opening two games so far and he’s (Bogut) done little to nothing, to suggest that anything meaningful will change in G3. But it has to, he has to step up and play like he’s capable of playing. He’s left with no choice now. Because if he doesn’t, then Sydney will be planning their end of season holidays.
Shawn Long. This guy was called a stat-padder when he played for a poor Breakers team. Then he was called not good enough when Melbourne were struggling throughout the season. Well apparently he eats his critics words for breakfast if his two massive finals performances are anything to go by. In G1 vs the Kings, he ended up with 21PTS, 11REB, 1STL and 1BL. And he backed that up in G2, with a stat-line consisting of 26PTS, 11REB, 1AST and 1STL. Bogut has been no match for him. Cooks has been no match for him. He’s been the best big man on the floor, for either team …… by far. He is killing it on the court and rightfully so. What he does for United close to the rim is nothing short of incredible. He scores, blocks and he grabs both the offensive and the defensive rebounds. He’s an absolute monster out there. How he plays, directly correlates with how United performs. He will have another huge game in G3, it’s up to Sydney whether they’re smart enough and strong enough to stop him or not. It’s now no longer up for debate who the best C is in the NBL, Long owns that title and with a firm grip at that, now.
What Should Happen- Sydney win and advance to the Grand Final Series. They started their journey when they first brought in Gaze as head coach and recruited veterans to the side such as Lisch and Randle. They stunk that year. The year after they broke a hefty playoff drought, as they went to Melbourne 2-0 in the 1st week of the Finals. And then this season happened under the magic of Will Weaver and Paul Smith. Sydney have a 3-1 regular season record against Melbourne from this campaign. And the only match they lost, was by 3 to Melbourne in Melbourne, when Weaver was missing for half the game due to an ejection call. Sunday night was bad, terrible and utterly humiliating. But this is a Kings side with a heart of steel. They have Casper Ware, the best player to come from/ or play for United in the past two seasons. And despite their recent choking effort, G3 is at Qudos Bank Arena. And the home-crowd in G1 played a massive, massive, massive part in their close 6-point victory. The Kings are built for this now and aren’t the violet crumble team of years gone by. There can only be one winner on Thursday night and that winner will be the Sydney Kings. This is their journey, this is what they’ve been working towards for countless seasons now. Now is their time and nobody elses.
Betting tip: Pick the Kings to win the match at $1.68 (bet365)
Also pick the Kings to win Q4 and be the first to 10 points. These odds will be updated into the article as they become available.
Perth Wildcats v Cairns Taipans
Game Two Recap- Up at the Cairns Convention Centre, there was a Taipans side waiting to pounce and bite their opponent Wildcats strongly and that they did. They caused a huge upset by winning 85-74, to force a G3 in Perth. This will go down as one of the Taipans best ever wins. What a day for the under-financed franchise. Against all odds, they are now just a win away from the Grand Final. Q1, they won with ease, 30-16. Q2, they also won, as they edged it, 17-15. Q3, Perth fought back a bit, as they won 22-16. And in Q4, the Taipans regained ascendancy again, as they won 22-21. Game 3 at the RAC Arena is now going to be huge. And while Perth will rightfully start the game as favorites, there’s no guarantee they’ll advance to another Finals Series. This is going to be le…gen…dary.
Oliver posted 22PTS. Newbill had 16PTS. Machado got 13PTS. And Deng had 11PTS. Of the pine, Jawai had 12PTS. Oliver made a pair of 3’s, as he pulled in a huge 19 boards! Outside of that, he also had 1REB and 1BL. Newbill went 5/5 from the FT line, as he also got 4REB, 3AST and 2STL. Machado made 2 from beyond the arc, as his other stats included 4REB, 4AST and 2STL. Deng hit 4/7 shots from the floor, as he also had 2REB, 2AST and 1STL next to his name. Jawai shot 83.3% from the court, as he additionally had 2REB and 1AST. Kenny also had just over 11 minutes of game-time, as he shot 2/3 for 5PTS. He also had 1REB and 2AST, as he impressed in his short cameo appearance of the bench.
For the losers, it’s most important to note, that Cotton ended up with just 11PTS, as he was kept to 5/12 from the field. He also got 2REB, 3AST and 1STL. Steindl had a big 18PTS of the bench, while Wagstaff produced 7PTS. Steindl hit 4 3’s, as he also got 3REB, 1AST and 1BL. Wagstaff shot 50%, as he also had 4REB and 2AST. White scored 13PTS on 5/10 shooting, as he also had, 4REB, 2AST and 1STL. Kay scored 10PTS, as he hit a pair of 3’s. His other stats included 10REB (he had a double-double), 4AST, 2STL and 1BL. Plumlee hit 4/8 shots, as he also got 6REB, 1AST and 2STL. There just weren’t enough contributors for the Wildcats in this one, period.
Key Players- Kay. Kay is not only playing to try and win a Championship, but to justify a selection in a Boomers squad that will eventually be filled with the likes of Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Aaron Baynes, Andrew Bogut, etc. 3/12 Last game won’t cut it and neither will his dismal 2 made 3’s from 6 attempts last match either. And despite scoring 23PTS in G1, he was still poor inside the arc, as he went just 2-6 on 2-point attempts. If the Wildcats don’t win this one, they’re out until next season. He needs to find a way ASAP to rectify his shooting woes. He is considered the Robin to Batman (Bryce Cotton), in Perth. He literally has no other choice, but to play well this game. Before the Playoffs started, he scored 20+ points 5 times in a row. He can do it, but now he needs to revert to that sort of form. When all is said and done and the final buzzer has sounded to conclude G3. What sort of a legacy will Nick Kay have left for this season. Whether very, very great, or very, very poor, we’re about to find out soon.
Oliver. He pulled in a massive 19 boards last game! And 18 in the one before that! He is literally the NBL’s version of Shaq. He hit 6/9 2’s last game in G2. And in G1 he hit 4/5 2’s. What can’t he do? The current All-Second NBL Team member, is showing and proving why he should’ve been in that First-Team side. The Oakland born player has been sending shock waves throughout the NBL all season long. His inside game and his ability to alter shots close to the rim make him such a threat. And those are chief among the reasons why he’s been one of Cairns best players all season long. Before the Finals started, in his last game before the Series, he had a block vs BRI and a block vs MEL. 2 Vs the 36ers and 4 vs the Hawks. He’s an absolute menace that close to the rim. If Cairns are to win this game and advance to the Grand Final Series playing either SYD or MEL, then he needs at least 15 and 15, no questions asked. He will at the minimum reach that, as he should play a huge part in a massive upset that’s already on the cards.
What Should Happen- How do you separate these two teams? The short answer is you don’t and the long answer also is you do not. These two franchises are too talented, too hungry and too success driven to be split from one another. So who will take out G3 at RAC Arena? The Taipans will take it out and this is why. All season long they’ve been the best behind only Sydney and Perth. And they know what it takes to beat the Wildcats and in Perth at that. They have had such limited money to spend compared to the likes of the other teams just mentioned, yet they’ve been competing with them on a daily basis. Cairns have had that fairy tale sorta year. And it’s not about to end here. No, no, no. Machado, Oliver & Co simply won’t let it happen. Mike Kelly won’t let it happen. Their story isn’t meant to end here. Sporting franchises rarely survive around the Cairns/Townsville areas. Remember the Crocs or North Queensland Fury anyone? But the Taipans are an exception and they have the entire wider area backing them for the win. They will fight, they will go at it hard and they will leave everything they have out on the court. But it will be the Cairns Taipans who advance to the Grand Final Seires by virtue of beating Perth in G3 of the finals.
Betting tip: Pick Cairns to win at $2.70 (BlueBet)
Also pick Cairns to have a handicap of +6.5 at $1.68 (BetEasy)
And also pick the Taipans to be victorious in Q2 at $2.23 (UniBet)
Best Bet of the Round
The Taipans to be victorious in Q2 at $2.23 (UniBet)