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Illawarra Hawks vs Brisbane Bullets
2017 NBL season, 11 February 2017
|WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong, NSW|
|Illawarra Hawks||Brisbane Bullets|
The Illawarra Hawks will aim to become the third team to secure their spot in the playoffs when they host wooden spooners, the Brisbane Bullets. Join The Roar for live scores from 5:30pm (AEDT).
For the Hawks, they came into the final round sitting in second place and after three games are still there. A win in their final game of the season here secures their spot in the playoffs.
What position they would qualify for the finals in though remains to be seen, such is the nature of the league. If Cairns beat Adelaide, then they would poach home court advantage.
If that happens and the Wildcats beat Melbourne, then Perth would claim second position, relegating the Taipans and Hawks to third and fourth respectively.
However, if Cairns lose and Perth win, then the Hawks would finish third with a win, facing the Wildcats in the semi-finals for the second straight year. If both teams lose and the Hawks win though, they claim home court advantage?
If the Hawks were to lose though, they would be relying on Melbourne beating Perth just to make the final four.
Luckily for fans in Wollongong, it looks unlikely the Hawks will lose this game. While their form has been a little patchy in recent times, only winning two of their last five, the Bullets simply aren’t in the same league as the Hawks.
Illawarra have lost some close games, including last start on the road against Melbourne United. Their biggest problem there was having no one to back up Rotnei Clarke consistently.
They have shown time and time again they do have that though and it felt like more of an off night then truly bad form for the Hawks.
When you consider the Bullets are missing so many of the stars they started the season with and have nothing left to play for, already being confirmed to pick up the wooden spoon it’s hard to see where the motivation for this clash will come from.
Keeping the Hawks out of the playoffs might be a start, as will finishing the season on a high, but if recent form is anything to go by they are going to get blown off the court here.
The club have lost seven of their last eight matches and it shows no signs of slowing down, with a 30-point blowout in their last match against the Wildcats.
If they are to make a dent in this game, then most of the pressure is on Jeremy Kendle, who has shown an ability to shoot the ball with the best of them.
The Hawks are always hard to beat at home and with the Bullets missing players and having nothing left to play for, they could get blown away pretty early in the contest here.
Hawks by 15.
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Follow Scott on Twitter @sk_pryde