ALL THINGS AUSSIE: NBL Finals Pressure Renews Hawks/Kings Rivalry
With only eight teams in the NBL, it is devastating to miss out on the top four to get to the finals. This year, the pressure is on, particularly for the Wollongong Hawks (.409) and Townsville Crocodiles (.381) who are fifth and sixth on the ladder, respectively. The Sydney Kings are fourth with a .435 win percentage making them a target for their rivals, the Wollongong Hawks.
As I write, the Hawks have six games remaining while the Kings have five. While this does give the Hawks more opportunities to win, it also gives them more chances to lose. Since I’m volunteering for the Hawks since this season, you have one guess who I am rooting for…
The Good News
Of the Kings’ remaining games, two are against the Perth Wiildcats, who are above them on the ladder. One of these games will be played on Perth’s home court. The Kings are 3-7 in games against the top three (New Zealand, Melbourne and Perth) and 0-2 against Perth.
One of the remaining games is between the Hawks and the Kings. While the Hawks haven’t been great under pressure this year, with the finals on the line, new American Malcolm Grant at the point, and the home court advantage, the Hawks just might be able to pull this off.
Speaking of Grant, he’s been a great asset for the Hawks. He was brought in by friend, Lance Hurdle, who told him the must-knows about the team and league making it a seamless transition.
The Bad News
Two of the King’s remaining 5 games are against Townsville, who are two spots below them on the ladder. However, the Kings are 1-1 against Townsville, making the outcome uncertain.
One of the Hawks games is against the number three team, Melbourne. The Hawks are 1-2 against them this season and Melbourne have home court advantage.
Glen Saville, Hawks forward/guard, has recently retired due to injury. It seems as though they’re all reeling from the loss and it’s a disadvantage for the team. Not to mention, the Hawks have been on a losing streak recently which they’ll have to turn around if they want any chance at the finals.
If the Kings win 2 of their last 5 games, they will have a 12-16 record. If the Kings want to beat them, they’ll have to win 4 of their next 6 games. That’s a big ask, and that’s assuming the Kings lose three games. Which, if you really look at it, might not happen.
The chances are slim. But there’s still a chance. Even if they don’t make it, the pressure on this rivalry should make for a great last few games.
(Photo Credit: Sydney Kings Twitter)