The following is a preview with betting tips for the best-of-three semifinals in the 2022/23 NBL season. The game covered is Game 2 of the Sydney Kings vs. Cairns Taipans series.
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Cairns Taipans vs Sydney Kings
Friday Feb 17, 7:30pm
Will the Taipans live to see another day, or can the Kings continue their pursuit of back-to-back Championships?
Cairns an underdog team with a vicious never say die mentality, whilst Sydney seemingly content with continuously proving their doubters wrong. Adam Forde’s Men have triumphed in eight of their last 12 games at the Cairns Convention Centre and as for Chase Buford’s team they have seen out seven victories from their last 12 appearances on the road. This heated affair should prove to be an incredibly tight matchup and one that either side has a genuine chance of taking out. With a sea of orange expected to erupt in Far North Queensland on Friday, expect a night of thrills, sweat and utter, utter intensity!
And the two sides displayed exactly that in their opening semifinal matchup at Qudos Bank Arena, as the Kings eventually ran out 95-87 victors. Despite heading into halftime with a nine-point deficit working heavily against them, a truly dominant 27-10 display in Q3 saw them back on the right track headed into the final stages of the game. And after drawing Q4 18-18, they held/still currently hold a 1-0 series advantage. And better yet there’s still absolutely everything to play for in this second matchup.
Leading the way for the hosts was reigning MVP Xavier Cooks who shot a brilliant 11/19 from the floor en route to 27PTS + 14REB, 2AST, 1STL and 1BLK. Meanwhile for the visitors D.J. Hogg proved venomous too as he conjured up 24PTS, 1REB and 2AST. As for Sydney’s second in command it was Derrick Walton Jr. who produced 21PTS, 4REB and 5AST on 9/12 shooting. While Hogg was backed up in an influential manner for Cairns via Jonah Antonio who off the bench was phenomenal with 20PTS, 6REB and 1BLK, as he converted six threes from beyond the arc. Antonio lit up Sydney with ease!
Also paying dividends for the Kings was Tim Soares who conjured up 14PTS and 4REB. While Justin Simon’s stats included 10PTS and 8REB. And ex-Taipan turned-King Kouat Noi had an eight-piece meal off the pine. Whilst doing their things for the Taipans was Shannon Scott with 13PTS, 5REB and 7AST. Alongside him Sam Waardenburg who provided 11PTS, 7REB, 1AST, 1STL and 1BLK. And Bul Kuol’s statline had in it 8PTS and 4REB.
American/Brazilian ‘Big Man’ Tim Soares hasn’t always lit up the floor for the Kings this season, in the same sense that ex-Brazilian Didi Louzada did. However whereas Louzada typically went quiet during the Playoffs, Soares has so far done the complete opposite as evidenced through last night! He bullied the Cairns interior defenders all night long and came up with some highlight plays. And with the ex-Summer League Buck producing only 10.7PPG this season, he stood up massively against the Taipans with his 14PTS. And going 5/6 from the floor, he certainly helped make up for Dejan Vasiljevic’s miserable shooting performance of 2/11 from the floor. Adam Forde’s troops wouldn’t have planned for a Soares masterclass as containing Xavier Cooks on his own is work enough in itself. So another big match from the 3× GSAC Defensive Player of the Year will definitely help swing the outcome in the Kings favour. However can he produce back-to-back big games? That is the ultimate question.
I truly believe he can and so in turn I’ll back Sydney to edge out the overall battle here and advance through to the Grand Final Series. During Game One of the series Sydney out-rebounded Cairns 44-36, which particularly during the second-half of the affair helped swing it back in their favour. And of course from there they never looked back, going on with the job! Cooks, Soares, Simon and even Angus Glover off the bench with 3REB played a huge part in that. That will repeat itself in Far North Queensland and help gift the Kings the ultimate edge, which they need to take the result out with. It has been a memorable campaign for both teams to date, but only Sydney’s will live on here. Gentlemen it’s over to you now.
**The match will be available to watch through Kayo Freebies.
Betting tips: Pick Sydney to claim a tight win at $1.77 (UniBet)
Meanwhile with the game more then likely on the line, pick Q4 to be a high scoring one with 45+ collective points scored throughout it at $1.83 (UniBet)
And you can back the hosts very own D.J. Hogg to score 21+ PTS at $1.90 & Xavier Cooks to bag 20+ at $1.87 (Bet365)
Finally look for each side to come up with 78PTS + a piece at $1.14 – Cairns and at $1.12 – Sydney (Bet365)