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DrinkWise Preview: NBL24 - Round 20, Game 2 v Illawarra Hawks

17 Feb
3 mins read

Written By

Melbourne United Media

Melbourne United will be looking for their 11th home victory of the season on Sunday

Melbourne United are set to bring their regular season campaign to a close when they host the Illawarra Hawks at John Cain Arena.

Having locked up top spot, a win here would go towards gaining some momentum as the team heads into the FIBA Break.

Having already beaten the Hawks twice across NBL24, United will be coming into the contest full of confidence that they can come away from the season series with a clean sweep.

For Illawarra, a win would solidify a fourth-place finish ahead of the Play-in tournament, while a loss could see the side drop down into fifth depending on other results.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Playing in what could very well be his final regular season NBL game, Ariel Hukporti will be looking to put together another standout performance as he aims to rocket further up NBA Draft boards.

Hukporti was among Melbourne’s best on Friday night against the Taipans, tallying 15 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. This included a thunderous dunk over fellow Next Star Bobi Klintman.

The towering Togolese/German also registered a career-high in scoring earlier in the season against the Hawks, dominating around the rim to the tune of 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Look for Hukporti to once again put on a show in front of the John Cain Arena crowd.

KEY MATCHUP

In a battle between a former NBA player and a future NBA player, Luke Travers will look to shut down Illawarra’s Gary Clark come Sunday afternoon.

Across the last three rounds, few players have been better than Clark, who has used his mix of size, speed and finesse to lead the Hawks to five wins in six games.

He will however have to contend with the defence of Travers, who has been able to shut down some of the league’s top forwards across the course of the season.

THE OTHER GUYS

Boasting a varied mix of weapons, Illawarra’s lineup poses a unique threat to many teams across the NBL.

Import guard pairing Justin Robinson and Tyler Harvey can both hurt teams from all over the court, while Sam Froling has been a force inside the paint.

To come away with the victory in Melbourne however, the Hawks will have to look to their bench pieces, such as Todd Blanchfield, Mason Peating and Davo Hickey for big performances.

WANT TO HEAR HOW OUR GUYS BREAK DOWN THE GAME? CLICK HERE

GAME INFO

Who: Melbourne United vs Illawarra Hawks

Tip-off: 2pm AEDT, Sunday 18 February, 2024

Where: John Cain Arena, Melbourne

Watch: 10 Peach and Kayo Freebies

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