Patrick Beverley could be facing another NBA suspension after pushing Phoenix Suns' centre Deandre Ayton. Beverley took exception to a couple of staredowns by…
There’s a reason why imports pretty much always rent rather than buy accommodation in the NBL.
Hawks shooter George King has followed Justin Robinson (actual knee injury) out the door with his departure supposedly due to a lower leg problem rather than the hot-and-mostly cold form he displayed in the first couple of months of the season.
In his place is former Wildcats guard Michael Frazier II as the Hawks try to salvage something from their season which sunk to 1-9 last weekend on the back of Shaun Bruce’s buzzer-beating three in the Freeway Derby with Sydney.
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With Jordan Caroline (Melbourne), Craig Randall II (Adelaide) and Devondrick Walker (Brisbane) also failing to make it past November, it hasn’t been a good season for job security among imports.
Here’s all the pre-game talking points for the Round 8 fixtures.
Perth (5-6) vs Adelaide (4-5) at RAC Arena, 9.30pm AEDT
Brady Manek has shored up his spot as an import at Perth with a couple of big performances, scoring 21 off the bench last weekend in the 103-96 home win over the Phoenix. Robert Franks and Antonius Cleveland have stepped up for the 36ers since Randall’s axing as they split their clashes last week with Melbourne and the Breakers.
Cairns (9-6) vs NZ Breakers (8-3) at Cairns Convention Centre, 7.30pm AEDT
The heavyweight Round 8 clash no one was expecting. The great Liam Santamaria had the stat of the season last week when he tweeted that Cairns and the Breakers had combined to create NBL history as it’s the first time that the two bottom-placed teams from the previous season have been in the top three after seven weeks.
Tahjere McCall’s successful return from a hip injury last week for the Taipans was huge so they should be able to put some space between them and the Breakers with a win here.
Melbourne (5-7) vs Tasmania (5-6) at John Cain Arena, 8pm AEDT
Rayjon Tucker’s form for United has improved in recent outings but the team is still not playing consistent ball and are treading water in eighth spot. Kudos to the JackJumpers for banning a fan and revoking their membership after they threw a hand-clapper towards the Breakers bench in Hobart last weekend. Some people are just dumb.
NZ Breakers (8-3) vs Brisbane (3-6) at Spark Arena, 2pm AEDT
The Breakers should get an extra W in the win column for their efforts last week to emerge victorious on Sunday against Adelaide after flight cancellations and delays meant they returned to Auckland at 3am on game day after playing in Hobart on Friday night.
They are facing a similar dilemma this weekend with a Sunday match on home soil after playing the Taipans in Cairns less than 48 hours earlier. And they’re facing a Brisbane team that will not have played for more than a week.
Plain and simple, they’re being dudded by the schedule makers. With Thursday-Monday dates each round, no team should have to back up from a road trip with just one night off in between.
South East Melbourne (6-5) vs Illawarra (1-9) at John Cain Arena, 4pm AEDT
Frazier only averaged 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals a game at Perth last season so Hawks fans thinking he will be the messiah to turn their fortunes around, need to take a reality check. He should get more minutes and opportunities in Wollongong but unless Tyler Harvey can consistently shoot well, rather than once every three or four games, the Hawks will remain rooted, to the bottom of the ladder that is.
Cairns (6-3) vs Sydney (8-2) at Cairns Convention Centre, 8pm AEDT
The Taipans have the luxury of two games in the tropics this weekend although the Kings will have no excuses as this is their only match of the round. Sydney were uber lucky to get away with the last-gasp win over Illawarra last weekend but they are likely to have MVP candidate Xavier Cooks back on court for this clash after he was close to playing last weekend after a few weeks out with an ankle problem.