Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Round 17 - The Defining Round

I'm watching Fox Sports tomorrow night to see if Perth enforcer Galen Young (left) and Tigers Sam MacKinnon lock horns and flex.
By the end of this round (17) we may have a clearer picture of who the Top 4 are or it could once again become tighter than the Gold Coast rims.

Wednesday night really sets the mood for the week's games. First we have the resurging Melbourne Tigers taking on the top of the table Perth Wildcats on Fox Sports.

The Tigers are winners of 5 of their last 6 and have moved up to sixth on the ladder. Having added import Mike Rose, the Tigers have played their hand in saying the season ain't over yet. This weekend's home and away against the Wildcats will determine if the Tigers have any roar in them as we head towards the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats are playing for a Top 2 finish and home court advantage during the playoffs. As we know, the Wildcats are tough to beat at the "Jungle" so Rob Beveridge will have his boys amped for this mini series.

I'm saying each team will win on their home floor but look for Sam MacKinnon and Galen Young to conduct a no holds barred wrestle for halftime entertainment.

The Wollongong Hawks and the Townsville Crocodiles also enter a home and away series over the next three days. Wednesday starts down at the "Sandpit", while the return leg at the "Swamp" is Friday night.

The Hawks continue to go about their business despite MVP fav Ty McKee out for the season. The Hawks have dusted the Crocs 2-0 already this season so can their good play continue against the reptiles?

I'm sure now leading MVP candidate Corey "Homicide" Williams will be looking to have a night out on his feathered friends. Coach Gordie McLeod's scout on the playground legend has been spot on to date.

If the Crocs have aspirations of a Top 2 finish, they need to get over this hurdle the Hawks have presented to date. Meanwhile, if the Hawks can get two wins, they will put to rest all the doubters and should secure a playoff birth.

Thursday night's game across the ditch is being pumped up as a grand final for both teams.

Adelaide has had an injury scare this week, but it seems that captain Adam Ballinger boarded the flight and will suit up for the 36ers against my New Zealand Breakers.

As for the Breakers, they/we just need a win for the sake of confidence right now. If the game had been reduced to thirty minutes this year, the title favourites (at the start of the season) would be holding court and making bookies look like they knew what they are doing.

Unlucky for the Breakers the game is forty minutes and they/we have found just about every way possible to cough up a handy fourth quarter lead.

I'm tipping the Breakers, break out, and drop a lazy 100 on the 36ers.

Saturday night will see the Crocodiles play their third game in five days as they travel to Cairns. The folks of the far north will be promoting this one big time and plenty will make the trip north from Townsville.

No matter what is at stake, these two towns will always show up and support their team.

The Taipans have not been playing the best ball of late but they must be due and I'm sure they are holding onto the old mathematical equation scenario regarding making the playoffs.

On the other hand the Crocs mental makeup (from their two games against the Hawks) will determine how they go into this game.

Last but not least, the Gold Coast Blaze host the NZ Breakers.

The Breakers will come into this game with renewed energy and hope after beating the 36ers on Thursday. Having been narrowly defeated on New Year's Eve at the same venue, the Breakers will like their chances.

Joey Wright will have his Blaze team thinking Top 2 so they cannot afford to drop too many more in the fashion they did in Wollongong last round.

Injury is starting to creep into the Blaze camp (Adam Gibson and Ayinde Ubaka) but if they are serious about competing for a championship they need to win this one.

I'm tipping this is going to be the game of the round so people on the Coast need to get a piece of this action come Saturday night.

Highlights of Hawks vs Blaze Round 16

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