The following is a preview with betting tips for Game Two of the Grand Final series for the 2021 NBL season.
Sunday, June 20
Perth Wildcats vs Melbourne United
A missed Jesse Wagstaff three-ball is all that separated these two sides in Melbourne’s 73-70 Game One victory in Perth. In what was an inseparable match it was Perth who won Q1 19-18. They also slightly edged Q2 16-13. But in Q3 it was all Melbourne as they came back in roaring fashion to prevail 29-18. And despite the Wildcats best 17-13 efforts in Q4 it wasn’t quite enough to pull it back for the injury-ravaged side. This means they have home-court advantage again in desperate need of a victory, otherwise United will be up 2 and 0 in the series.
United were strong off the bench with Jo Lual-Acuil producing 10PTS and David Barlow 7. However the starters were where it was at for them with Chris Goulding coming up with 23PTS and Jock Landale 17. Goulding hit 5 triples as his other stats included 3REB, 2ST and 1BL. While for Landale he shot 50.0% from inside the arc as he also got 7REB, 3AS, 2ST and 2BL.
As for Perth they fought incredibly hard despite the absence of Bryce Cotton. Whilst among others, Clint Steindl also featured in only just over 13 minutes of playing time as well. However they were strongly led by Todd Blanchfield who torched his former employers for 27PTS, while off the pine Kevin White had 10PTS. John Mooney was also solid all round with 8PTS, 6REB, 4AS and 5ST. Blanchfield also shot 5/9 from deep as he also had 7REB and 1AS. And White had 2 triples along with 5REB and 1AS.
With Games 3, 4 and 5 headed to Melbourne if needed it’s pretty safe to say that from both a mental, as well as a historical standpoint that Perth needs a win here in order to realistically keep the series alive. And in order for them to obtain that much craved victory they’ll need players such as White to continue to hustle hard and come out of their shell a bit so to speak.
Former 36er, Hawk and King White is somebody who can defend anybody in the game at an extremely elevated level but he’s also somebody who isn’t known as much of a scorer. But he shouldered some of that weight for Perth in G1 and with Norton struggling both injury-wise and shooting-wise (2/5 in G1), he’ll (White) have to continue to score in double-digit points to keep Perth in the match, regardless of whether both himself and coach Trevor Gleeson are comfortable with it or not. Expect a similar contribution from the seasoned NBL veteran in this all-crucial match-up.
Outside of White, Wagstaff also needs to pick up the pace … A LOT! He went 0/5 from the floor in G1 and similarly bad shooting antics in this clash could see the Wildcats go down to a 0-2 record vs United. He is much needed of the bench to come in for the starters and provide both some fire power and some buckets. The 6X NBL Champion is certainly a handy acquisition to have coming off your team’s pine, but he needs to act more like it now. His three matches prior to this most recent outing he had 6, 7 and 6PTS which can make all the difference in a tight match between Australia’s two best Basketball franchises. Again similar to that of teammate White, Wagstaff should be putting in a big performance right here.
Ultimately this match could go either way. The Wildcats will be looking to strongly redeem themselves on their home floor while United are in pole-position to take out another Championship to add to the club’s trophy cabinet. The Wildcats should try incredibly hard here, but ultimately Melbourne should have enough depth to cover them in what should be another amazing spectacle of Basketball.
Betting tips: Pick Melbourne to prevail at $1.55 (BetFair)
Also pick the total match points to be over 147.50 at $1.20 (Sportsbet)
Look for Melbourne to win Q1 at $1.74 (UniBet)
And finally pick both Todd Blanchfield at $1.33 and Jock Landale at $1.25 to each score 15+ points (Sportsbet)