Round 4 of the 2019-20 NBL season promises to be the best yet, with fans set to feast their eyes on eight must-watch matches across five days.
By
Nick Houghton

Source:
SBS SPORTS
24 Oct 2019 - 2:58 PM  UPDATED 24 Oct 2019 - 4:04 PM

New Zealand Breakers v Illawarra Hawks

When: Thursday, October 24 at 5.30pm (AEDT) LIVE on SBS VICELAND via SBS On Demand

Where: Spark Arena, Quay Park Auckland

Basketball’s stars of the future go head to head for the first time when RJ Hampton and the New Zealand Breakers face off against LaMelo Ball’s Illawarra Hawks.

Both young stars are tipped as future NBA first round draft picks and talent scouts have had this game circled ever since the draw was released.

The big name rookies are both gunning for that number one overall pick and are worth the price of admission alone with their exciting attacking play.

While the Hampton and Ball match-up may grab all the headlines, both teams are desperate for the win to keep their playoff hopes alive with all players focused on playing their best game of the season so far.

The Breakers have yet to claim victory this season with back to back losses against Sydney to open their campaign.

It has been a similar story for Illawarra who have won only one game from five.

Defence has been the big weak spot for the Hawks who have given up more than 90 points in each of their matches.

Although Hampton and Ball will get all the attention, the game will most likely be decided by veteran guards Aaron Brooks and Corey Webster.

Brooks scored 31 last week for the Hawks against Adelaide United proving he has found his shooting touch.

This is one of the most anticipated matches of the season and shouldn’t be missed.

 

Adelaide 36ers v Cairns Taipans

When: Friday, October 25 at 7.30pm (AEDT) LIVE via SBS On Demand

Where: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Hindmarsh

Adelaide 36ers return home to take on a fired up Cairns Taipans in the first match of a Friday NBL double header.

The 36ers have won back to back games and will be driven to make it three in front of their passionate home fans.

The opponents Cairns are flying high after shocking reigning champions Perth on the road last week in what was their first win of the season.

It is the final match of a brutal four game road trip for the Taipans but that win against the Wildcats is sure to spur them on to make life very difficult for the 36ers.

Adelaide have an incredible record against Cairns winning seven of their last eight games including a four game sweep last season.

The game will be a big one for Taipans sharpshooter Majok Deng who returns to Adelaide after leaving the 36ers in free-agency last off season. 

He scored 22 points in the win against Perth and will once again be a key contributor.

Watch out for the match up between Scott Machado and Jerome Randle with both guards set to light up the floor.

Both teams know how to find their way to the basket so it could be a case of who can find their defensive form in what could prove to be a vital game for their playoff hopes.

 

Perth Wildcats v South East Melbourne Phoenix

When: Friday, October 25 at 9.30pm (AEDT) LIVE via SBS On Demand

Where: RAC Arena, Perth

Perth Wildcats will be out to bounce back from their shock loss to Cairns by ending South East Melbourne Phoenix’s winning streak when the two teams meet at RAC Arena on Friday night.

It is the second game of an NBL double header and Perth will be determined to teach the competition new boys a lesson.

The Phoenix are three wins from as many games but have yet to test themselves outside the comforts of their home court.

Mitch Creek has been arguably the competition’s best player over the first three weeks leading the scoring charts and ranking highly in assists, rebounds and steals.

He will come up against Bryce Cotton who is the third best scorer in the league and is as clutch a scorer as you will find in the NBL as proven by his game winning dagger against Melbourne United.

Other players to keep an eye on is John Roberson for the Phoenix who has been outstanding so far, while Wildcats big man Nick Kay will have his hands full trying to stop Creek.

The match is Perth’s 600th home game in franchise history and will be extra motivation to get the job done on Friday night.

Melbourne United v NZ Breakers

When: Saturday, October 26 at 5.30pm (AEDT) LIVE on SBS VICELAND and via SBS On Demand

Where: Melbourne Arena, Melbourne Park

Melbourne United have had a rough start to the season and will be desperate to notch their first win of the campaign when they host New Zealand Breakers on Saturday.

One of the early championship favourites, Melbourne have failed to find their groove putting the pressure on them to find their way back to the winners circle quick.

They come up against a Breakers side which has struggled early, and if they lose to Illawarra on Thursday night will also be 0-3.

It will be a fixture full of big game players with individual matchups likely to set the tone for this contest.

Chris Goulding has been solid for Melbourne United despite their poor start and he will go up against Kiwi sharpshooter Corey Webster.

NBA first round prospect RJ Hampton will be back in action with the pressure on him to back up with another big game only days after taking on Illawarra and LaMelo Ball.

With so much on the line for both sides it will be a game you won’t want to miss.

 

Sydney Kings v Brisbane Bullets

When: Saturday, October 26 at 8pm (AEDT) LIVE via SBS on Demand

Where: Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park

It will be State of Origin, hoop-style on Saturday night when the star studded Sydney Kings host Brisbane Bullets at Qudos Bank Arena.

The Kings have lived up to their billing as a competition powerhouse by winning all four of their opening matches to sit at the top of the table.

Brisbane have had a mixed start to the season with two wins and two losses.

The match presents a thrilling sub plot with Kings coach Will Weaver taking on his mentor Andrej Lemanis for the first time.

Sydney have defeated Brisbane in each of their past seven matches including a four game sweep last season. The Bullets will be out to end that streak in what is their only regular season match in Sydney.

Defence is the big issue for the Bullets who have conceded over 100 points in both of their last two games. They will need to rediscover their ability to make a stop against the Kings’ superstar line-up.

Sydney will be without point guard Kevin Lisch who is set for an extended stint on the sideline with an ankle injury.  

Brisbane’s undersized line-up appears on paper as a dream matchup for the Kings but can Lemanis find a way to stop Sydney’s big men and steal the win?

 

South East Melbourne Phoenix v Adelaide 36ers

When: Sunday, October 27 at 3pm (AEDT) LIVE on SBS VICELAND and via SBS On Demand

Where: Melbourne Arena, Melbourne Park

South East Melbourne Phoenix return home to take on Adelaide 36ers this Sunday with both teams fighting to get ahead in the race for the playoffs.

Mitch Creek has declared he is out to ‘raise some hell’ against his former side with the star scorer still holding strong feelings towards the 36ers for complicating his move to NBA side the Brooklyn Nets in July 2018.

Adelaide and South East Melbourne boast two of the best scoring offences in the league with their shooters determined to keep the points flowing on Sunday.

While Creek is sure to take the spotlight for this game, keep an eye out for the battle between John Roberson of the Phoenix and the 36ers Jerome Randle.

The exciting battle between the free-scoring guards could light up the contest in an instant.

 

Illawarra Hawks v Perth Wildcats

When: Sunday October 27 at 5pm (AEDT) LIVE on SBS VICELAND and via SBS On Demand

Where: WIN Stadium, Wollongong

LaMelo Ball and the Illawarra Hawks are back on home turf this Sunday braced for a major test against reigning NBL Champions Perth Wildcats.

Two weeks ago Illawarra were completely wiped off the court when they travelled to Perth but this time they hope the home court advantage will put them in good stead to claim revenge.

Perth silenced Hawks star Aaron Brooks in that match with the former NBA guard scoring only three points.

Bryce Cotton was in fine form for the Wildcats scored 28 points and proving seven assists in the 103-76 domination at RAC Arena.

While the Hawks struggled early on they will hope they are finally hitting their straps and making the most of coach Matt Flinn’s game plan.

Brooks scored 31 last Monday for the Hawks and will want to use his return clash against Cotton as a chance to prove himself as one of the premier guards in the NBL.

LaMelo ball has shown more than a few flashes of brilliance with the ball in his hand but it will most likely be his ability to defend which could make the biggest difference in this one.

 

Cairns Taipans v Melbourne United

When: Monday, October 28 at 7.30pm (AEDT) LIVE via SBS On Demand

Where: Cairns Convention Centre, Cairns

Melbourne United guard Melo Trimble could be set for a frosty reception when he returns to his former home court on Monday night for a tough road clash against the Cairns Taipans.

Trimble took a parting shot at the Taipans faithful saying they were ‘bored’ and weren’t into basketball as much as his new supporters in Melbourne.

The Orange Army are sure to give plenty back when he hits the court in what is set to be a thrilling match to wrap up a huge week four.

Melbourne travel to Cairns only two days after hosting NZ and will need to fight the fatigue of such a short turn around.

Mitch McCarron is another Melbourne player returning to Far North Queensland with something to prove after struggling against his former side last season. 

The Snakes will be hoping Scott Machado has a big game with the pass first guard the man to unlock United’s stingy defence.