Wed, Oct 12, 2:39pm by Jake Equid
If you build it, they will come
The NBL season tipped off last Thursday amid huge fanfare but far more importantly, it delivered on every level. It was the first time that the games were beamed into China and India and what a display they saw.
There was the long-awaited return of inaugural NBL franchise Brisbane, the Bullets’ return marked by solid wins at home and on the road. It was well worth the 3143-day wait.
The next night, more history was made. The Hawks’ 122 points on Friday night was the most since the NBL swung from the 48-minute match format back to 40-minute games in 2010.
We also had an overtime game in Perth, when the reigning champions used the final 2.8 seconds to perfection, trailling 68-65. Import Jaron Johnson hit the shot of the round to force overtime.
The hype in the off-season certainly delivered in the stands too, crowds were well up, with more than 43,000 people attending the six matches.
On this week’s action and round two tips off in Illawarra on Thursday night when the Hawks take on the Sydney Kings. The hosts are coming off their record breaking win over the 36ers where Rotnei Clarke top scored with 23 points and Marvelle Harris had 21.
Despite finishing bottom last season, The Sydney Kings came into this season as second favourite for the title ($4) after having an extremely pro-active off-season. One of the newcomers, Kevin Lisch starred in his first outing for his new club with 20 points but it wasn’t enough to get the win, they went down 73-77.
The following night, Adelaide host Melbourne United who were favourites for the title heading into the season ($3.50) but haven’t made a fast start, they currently sit 0-2 after the opening weekend that consisted of losses to New Zealand and Adelaide.
After getting out of jail in overtime against the Taipans, defending champions, the Perth Wildcats are short-priced favourites ($1.30) to beat the Breakers in replay of last year’s decider. The Breakers are at $3.20.
On Saturday night, the Kings are back on their home floor hosting another team who lost a close one in round one, the Taipans. The Kings are $1.38 favourite to open their account with the Taipans at $3.
On Sunday, the feel good story of the opening round, the Brisbane Bullets host the 36ers at home. They are $1.50 to move to 3-0 with the 36ers at $2.60. Bullet Daniel Kickert was one of the first players to sign with the club when they announced they were coming back into the league and he was at his best in the win over the Kings with 17 points.
Illawarra Hawks ($1.53) v Sydney Kings ($2.50), WIN Entertainment Centre, 7.30pm, Thursday October 13
Adelaide 36ers ($1.94) v Melbourne United ($1.86), Titanium Security Arena, 7.30pm, Friday October 14
Perth Wildcats ($1.30) v New Zealand Breakers ($3.20), Perth Arena, 9.30pm, Friday October 14
Sydney Kings ($1.38) v Cairns Taipans ($3), Qudos Bank Arena, 7.30pm, Saturday October 15
Melbourne United ($1.48) v Illawarra Hawks ($2.67), Hisense Arena, 3pm, Sunday October 16
Brisbane Bullets ($1.50) v Adelaide 36ers ($2.60), Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 7:00pm, Sunday October 16
All times are Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time*
Odds were provided by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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