The final weekend of the NBL’s regular season is now upon us and it should be an exciting one! Last weekend we hit on 2/3 of our best bets to make it six consecutive weeks of 2/3 or better. We now switch our attention to the upcoming Round 20 and look to keep the ball rolling.
Thursday, 7:30pm AEDT
Melbourne United kept their playoffs hopes alive with an emphatic win over the Hawks last weekend. They came out with great intensity and delivered the result that most of us expected. They’re now a very real chance of making the playoffs and simply must win both of their Round 20 games.
The Taipans were fantastic in their only Round 19 game, defeating the 36ers on the road by 19 points. They dominated the game from start to finish to record their fourth consecutive win. The Taipans have now locked up third spot on the ladder and have the luxury to rest players in Round 20 if they want to go down that path.
The Taipans have certainly been the better of the two clubs this season; however, we’re pretty certain they’ll take the safe route in both of their games this round. On the other hand, United will be going all guns blazing from the tip off and we expect them to record a necessary win as a result.
Friday, 5:35pm AEDT
The Breakers were able to find a way to secure a hugely important win in Brisbane last weekend, outlasting the Bullets by four points. Scotty Hopson was the star of the show with 30 points, which included a couple of big shots down the stretch. The Breakers are now in fourth spot on the ladder and are in the box seat to make the playoffs ahead of United and the Bullets.
The wheels fell off quite some time ago this season for the South East Melbourne Phoenix. They got off to a hot start in their inaugural NBL campaign, but the second half of the season has been nothing short of a nightmare. They come into this having lost each of their last six games and will be keen to get this season over and done with.
Phoenix have nothing to play for, while the Breakers have it all to play for. We expect the intensity and intent of these two clubs to be completely different in the games, which should equate to an easy win for the home side. Anything other than that would be a big surprise.
Saturday, 5:35pm AEDT
The Bullets entered Round 19 needing to win at least one of their two games to keep themselves in the box seat to make the playoffs. They were unable to do that and are now big outsiders to feature in the final four. They have the same amount of wins as their rivals, but need a big percentage boosting win to get back to fourth place.
As mentioned above, the Taipans were fantastic last weekend when they defeated the 36ers and can now take the foot off the pedal in their remaining two games. Their position on the ladder cannot be changed from their Round 20 results, so it’ll be interesting to see what approach they take.
Like the other games we’ve previewed here, we expect the intensity of the team competing for a playoffs spot to be unmatched by their opposition. The Bullets still have a very real chance of claiming the fourth and final playoff spot, so you can expect they will come out and play hard right from the tip off.
Sunday, 3pm AEDT
SE Melbourne Phoenix have had a really tough second half of the season and their final round is one they’d probably rather not partake in. They’ve been drawn against two teams vying for the fourth and final playoff spot, which means the game intensity has been very high. They were good against the Breakers in their first game until they were undone late in the piece, going down by nine points.
Melbourne United are now in the box seat to make the playoffs despite a very underwhelming second half of the season. They’ve managed to win their last two games very comfortably and have the opportunity to claim fourth spot with a win over their new rivals on Sunday. United will be playing their second game of the round after defeating the Taipans by 16 points on Thursday night.
It’s been a crazy final round of the NBL thus far and we’re certainly not done yet. The Bullets needed to win by 34+ points against the Taipans on Saturday night and managed to secure a 36 point win, which saw them jump into fourth spot. It’s now up to United to win the final game of the regular season to spoil their party and clinch a playoff berth. We expect them to be inspired by the Bullets intensity the day prior and come out all guns blazing to record another double digit win and finish inside the top four.
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