Men's Previews - Round 6
Eastern Mavericks (0-5, 10th) v South Adelaide Panthers (3-2, 5th)
Saturday May 12, 8.15pm at Adelaide Hills
The Eastern Mavericks will complete their four game home streak when they hit the court alongside the South Adelaide Panthers on Saturday.
The Mavs have started the season 0-5 and have now won just two of their last 18 games. They were within striking distance of breaking that streak in Round 5, where they trailed Norwood by five with a quarter to go. However, it was the Flames who won the last quarter by six.
Daniel Lean was the Mavs’ best with 16 points and a game-high 7 assists, while Brad Goodchild scored 11. As a team, the Mavs shot under 28 per cent from the field and were outrebounded 30-48. Their shooting and rebounding were better the night before against Southern, yet they still fell 77-87.
Meanwhile, the South Adelaide Panthers are as hot as anyone right now. They are on a three game winning streak, which includes triumphs over last year’s Grand Finalists Norwood (85-81) and Forestville (94-83). Damian Scanlon (21.2 ppg), Jordan Robertson (14.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Patrick Mattson (13.3 ppg, 5 rpg) were on fire in both matches.
The home team took the honours on both occasions last season, however, a road victory for the Panthers seems the likely scenario here.
North Adelaide Rockets (3-1, 2nd) v West Adelaide Bearcats (4-1, 1st)
Saturday May 12, 8.15pm at Hillcrest
In the Match of the Round, the North Adelaide Rockets and West Adelaide Bearcats will be fighting for top spot when they battle it out at Hillcrest this weekend.
The Rockets were unbeaten before surprisingly falling well short against Sturt in their last match. They trailed by 19 at half-time and could get no closer than 13 by the final siren. Import Ed Millard (24 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks) combined with Pero Vasilijevic and Josh Bond for 56 of the Rockets’ 76 points.
Other than a hiccup against South in Round 3, the Bearcats have been getting the job done. Against Centrals, they became the first team to hold an opponent under 50 this season, winning 71-49. The Bearcats only led by two at quarter-time, but had an improved advantage at the end of each quarter.
The last time they met, the Bearcats put in a scintillating fourth quarter effort to end the Rockets’ 2011 season at the Elimination Final stage, heading home 86-61 winners. They won the two regular season meetings against the Rockets as well.
In fact, the Rockets have not beaten the Bearcats since June 27, 2009, with six losses in between. The Bearcats are the only club the Rockets have not beaten in the last two seasons.
The Bearcats are still yet to suit the NBL’s Most Improved Player, Daniel Johnson, but history says they will get the chocolates on Saturday regardless.
Norwood Flames (3-2, 6th) v Sturt Sabres (3-2, 4th)
Saturday May 12, 8.15pm at Mars
The Norwood Flames and Sturt Sabres will each be playing for their fourth win of 2012 when they face off at Mars in Round 6.
Both clubs put up their worst showing of the season when they last came off a one week break, but only one team’s fortunes can change this week. Last season, the home team was victorious in each of the two matches played.
The Flames have had an inconsistent start to the season. They enter this match following an unconvincing win over Eastern, the day after losing a close one to South Adelaide. Keith Krause, Ben Howell, Todd Matthews and playing-coach Brad Davidson were all in double figures against South, while Krause lit up the Mavs with 21 points (including 5-8 3FG) and 11 rebounds.
The Sabres appear to be gelling as a team, as evidenced by three straight victories. Their last triumph was over Southern, after beating previously unbeaten North the day prior. Tom Daly has already had three double-doubles this season, and is showing the benefits of the NBL season.
The Sabres were +18 from downtown against both Southern and North, so the Flames will need to be sharp with their close-outs. They also need to keep the Sabres off the boards, who were +14 against Southern and +9 against North.
With the Flames yet to find their feet, the Sabres should be favourites for this one.
Southern Tigers (2-3, 8th) v Woodville Warriors (3-1, 3rd)
Saturday May 12, 8.15pm at Morphett Vale
The Southern Tigers have already avoided back-to-back losses twice this season, and will hope to square the ledger for a third time when they host the 3-1 Woodville Warriors.
The big news from the Tigers’ camp in their last weekend of action was the injury to import Tyler Tanis (21.3 ppg over first three games).
Tanis lasted just four minutes in the Tigers’ 87-77 Round 4 victory over Eastern. In his absence, Matthew Williams stepped up with a career-high 21 points. Four other Tigers, including key players Codey Ellison (14 points) and Michael Florance (10 points), also featured in double-figures.
Tanis’ influence was more sorely missed in the Tigers’ 55-70 loss to Sturt at Pasadena. Ellison had 14 points again, while Samuel Johns had a team-high 17 points. The Tigers only made a third of their shots against the Sabres.
Could the Warriors’ 3-1 start be a sign? The Warriors have not started 3-1 since 2005, when they were Central ABL Champions. That was the last time they made it into the post-season, having finished sixth four times in the last six years.
The Warriors had a bye in Round 5, but defeated Centrals 101-89 at Starplex in Round 4. They shot over 56 per cent from the field, had 13 extra rebounds, and got to the line 14 extra times. They shared the load offensively, with six players in double-figures. 36er Mitch Creek marked his debut as a Warrior with 16 points on 6/7 shooting in just over 20 minutes of action.
The Warriors were one of just two teams to lose to the Tigers last season, but thrashed them 103-70 in a fiery battle at St Clair in their last meeting.
The Tigers are a chance at home, but the Warriors are looking the goods right now.
Central District Lions (1-4, 9th) v Forestville Eagles (2-3, 7th)
Saturday May 12, 8.15pm at Starplex
Both the Central District Lions and Forestville Eagles will be hoping to avoid a fourth successive defeat when they face off at Starplex on Saturday.
The Lions put up two completely different performances in the space of two days, so on that note anything could happen this weekend.
Against the Warriors, the Lions did not do much wrong offensively. They scored a season-high 89 points (47% FG, 85% FT). However, they gave up 101 points and 56 per cent shooting to a team that had not scored more than 73 points until that point.
Versus West Adelaide, the Lions completely turned things around defensively. They gave up only 71 points on 39 per cent shooting. However, they only shot the ball at 32 per cent, made only 7/17 from the charity stripe and scored just 49 points.
The barometer for the team was Kyle Miller, who dropped from 37 points against Woodville to just 7 points against West. The good news for the Lions is Jordan Centenera will be in uniform for the first time this year.
The Eagles have a selection update also, with former NBL centre Neil Mottram set to line up this week. He will provide their front court with some much-needed depth.
Despite more shots, more rebounds and less turnovers, the Eagles still suffered their biggest loss of the season against surprise packet South Adelaide. Rashad Tucker (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Trent Fildes (18 points, 10 rebounds) each registered double-doubles.
Head-to-head, the Eagles have had the wood on the Lions, including a series sweep in 2011.
If Miller has a big one than the Lions could produce an upset, but the Eagles have a much deeper roster and should get the job done.
By James Woite