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Melbourne United vs Sydney Kings
2018-19 NBL semi-finals, Game 1
|Venue: Melbourne Arena, Melbourne, VIC|
|Match time: Fulltime|
|Melbourne United||Sydney Kings|
There might be distractions off the court, but Andrew Bogut and the Sydney Kings will turn their attention to a tough NBL semi-final series against Melbourne United, with Game 1 on the road. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:50pm (AEDT).
Of course, Andrew Gaze leaving as coach from the end of the season wasn’t announced with ideal timing, but Sydney must put that to one side and focus on the task at hand over the next week.
Come the end of the NBL regular season, things were ridiculously tight at the top end of town, with the Perth Wildcats, United and the Kings all tied on wins.
In the end, percentage pushed the Wildcats to the top, United into second and the Kings into this tough semi-final series where they will have to win on the road at least once.
The Kings have had another one of those seasons where some ordinary losses have got in the way of good things happening, but they finished the season well with a five-point victory over the hapless Cairns Taipans.
In saying that, they will need to be better discipline-wise to compete with United. Their rebounding and decision-making on the ball, leading to turnovers, hasn’t been good enough at times this year.
A team with players like Andrew Bogut, Kevin Lisch and Jerome Randle should never be losing in clutch situations though, and while they did just that a fortnight ago in overtime against the Wildcats (a result which cost the Kings top spot), they will need to be better here.
Randle’s fitness is a question though, after he misses Sydney’s final game of the regular season.
Gaze’s team come up against a United side who somehow lost to the last-placed Taipans, but then beat the eventual minor premier Wildcats during the final round.
The win against the Wildcats was impressive. Chris Goulding was strong off the bench, while Casper Ware led the way. He has been cold at times, but when he heats up, there are few better players to watch.
With all that being said, Melbourne need to keep the tempo of this game up, look to score and score often, and if possible, get the dominant Andrew Bogut into foul trouble. Do that, and they will be well on the way towards a lead.
For the Kings, it’s all about Bogut. If he can dominate the paint, and kick outside against a defence which have been inconsistent, Lisch, Randle and Brad Newley could have a field day shooting the basketball with all kinds of time and space.
They might be away from home, but the Kings have weapons all over the court, and this is a team who are quite literally designed to stand up when it counts. Jerome Randle’s fitness is obviously a question, but should he play, the men in purple will go up 1-0.
Kings by 6.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the match from 7:50pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Tip-off: 7:50pm (AEDT)
Venue: Melbourne Arena, Melbourne
TV: Live, Fox Sports
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo sports
Betting: United $1.61, Kings $2.32
Season series: United 3 – Kings 1
Melbourne United (expected)
Point guard: Casper Ware
Shooting guard: Mitch McCarron
Small forward: D.J. Kennedy
Power forward: David Barlow
Centre: Josh Boone
Bench: Chris Goulding, Tohi Smith-Milner, Craig Moller, Alex Pledger, Peter Hooley, Sam Short, Sam McDaniel, Jenky Vois, Daniel Trist
Sydney Kings (expected)
Point guard: Kevin Lisch
Shooting guard: Jerome Randle
Small forward: Brad Newley
Power forward: David Wear
Centre: Andrew Bogut
Bench: Kyle Adnam, Daniel Kickert, Tom Wilson, Dane Pineau, Sam Daly, Deng Deng, Bryan Bowen, Ray Turner