Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Finals

Finals MVP

Game 1 of the Finals series between the Sydney Kings and the Melbourne Tigers is tonight. I feel this has the potential to be a five game series (which would be the first since 2004). Forget about the Kings sweeping the Tigers in regular season play. The Tigers are a veteran savvy team that seems to be peaking at the right time.

The primary factor that will determine the winner is who controls and/or dictates the style of play in each game. If the Kings are able to get up and pressure the ball for 94 feet, if they get away with their bump and grind defense, this will not allow the Tigers to get into their offense until the shot clock is winding down. You do not want to be a team that lives by guys making Hail Mary's at the end of the clock for a entire series 'cause you ain't winning any majority.

On the other hand if the Tigers are allowed to advance the ball and get into their half court offense unopposed, the Kings will struggle to keep pace offensively. They just won't be able to score enough points to win the game.

Put another way, the Tigers are simply one of the best half court teams around, while the Kings depend on their defense to create a lot of their offense.

A lesser determinant of the game will be how each team's key player will step up and exert their influence on the series. I am talking about the newly crowned MVP, Chris Anstey, and Kings' import Dontaye Draper.

It will be interesting to see who the Tigers use to defend Draper. His open court quickness and penetration in the half court has to worry the Tigers. D-Mac and Nathan Crosswell will probably get the first crack, but don't be surprised if Dave Thomas or David Barlow have a shot at the assignment as well. Their length and athleticism may curb his aggression.

Meanwhile Anstey is going to be a handful for whoever gets the job. Ian Crosswhite and Russ Hinder will spend most of the time on the Tigers' main man. (Side note: Hinder vs Anstey...Instead of NBA scouts watching these two, rumour has it many top Hollywood executives are making the trip down under to watch some of the best floppers battle for a lead role in up coming movies.)

Don't be surprised to see the Kings play some "small ball" and give Isiah Victor a little time on Anstey in an attempt to draw him away from the basket.

What makes Anstey tough is that he can have just as much influence on a game at the defensive end as offensively.

It isn't just these two that will provide some intriguing match-ups, however.

Sean Lampley and Mark Worthington will have their impact on the games at some stage. If either get into foul trouble early, this could really impact their respective teams potency.

Jason Smith and David Barlow are playing for more than a championship. Both are fighting for spots and minutes for the upcoming Beijing Olympics. Three point shooting will be key during the series, which one of these guys can provide the crucial "bomb", could get their team over the line.

Luke Kendall and Nathan Crosswell are the epitome of contrasting styles. If Crosswell can penetrate and create for himself and his teammates, easy baskets will be the order of the day. Kendall is a mixed bag. The options here are a triple double like effort or turnovers that will lead to easy Tiger baskets and Goorj rubbing his melon profusely.

Both teams have depth on the benches and everyone plays. There is no doubt there will be some games where these guys will have a major influence on the outcome of the game.

And let's not forget The D-Mac Factor. I'm not even necessarily talking about his own individual play, but how his teammates will rise to the occasion for one the NBL's best ever. D-Mac has said this is his last season, so will his team be able to send him out the way he came into the league, a winner?

My Prediction: Kings 3-2

In other news around the NBL, Chris Anstey beats out Ebi Ere for MVP. A former temmate of mine, Scott Niinis has been appointed the Adelaide 36ers coach. Gorrjian talks about how special BJ Carter is. Hammer says he can play another five years, especially if it is on the Glod Coast and the Hawks look back at 30 years in the NBL.


Anonymous said...

just watched your you tube video on the referee being punched.... cant wait for season 08/09 at the swamp.

Snoop Wogg said...

Kings 3-2? Think the Tigers can sneak games 1 or 3 and win it in 4, 3-1. Well I hope so anyway. Go Tigers!!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone changing their predictions after game one?

Snoop Wogg said...

After game 1, no. After games 2 and 3, definitely NO!!! Love the by play between the coaches after each game and their responses regarding the officials. Wonder if Goorj will dig them before game 4 to try gather a slight advantage?