DrinkWise Preview: NBL24 - Round 8 vs Sydney Kings
Melbourne United Media
Melbourne United are set to take on the Sydney Kings in a top-of-the-table clash to close Round 8 of the NBL24 season.
It will be a battle of the league’s strongest defence against its highest scoring offence, with the winner taking significant momentum into the FIBA Break.
For Melbourne, a win would improve their record to 10-2, equalling their best start to a season since the NBL21 campaign.
To do this, they will need to shut down the Kings, who have won their past three games to propel themselves up into second place on the ladder.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Back-to-back dominant performances have lifted Jo Lual-Acuil Jr into MVP conversations, despite coming off the bench in all but one of his games this season.
Across Rounds 6 and 7, JLA averaged 25.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2 blocks per game, showcasing his ability to change the game on both ends of the floor.
Feeding off the energy of another sold-out crowd at John Cain Arena, look for Lual-Acuil Jr to put his stamp on the game from the opening tip.
New Kings import DJ Hogg has put together strong performances in his first four games with the club, however he will have to battle with defensive dynamo Luke Travers on Sunday as he makes his return to the lineup.
Travers has excelled so far this season in locking down his opposing man while using his offensive versatility to keep the defence guessing on the other end.
The NBA Draft pick will look to do this again against Hogg, who will try to stop Travers from repeating his dominant performance against the Kings from last season.
LT scored 22 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out six assists in his last outing against Sydney.
THE OTHER GUYS
Built around their outside shooting, the Kings possess a collection of players capable of cashing in from long range.
Import duo Denzel Valentine and Jaylen Adams can both fire away from three while creating for others, while Kouat Noi is putting together perhaps his best season in the league.
Inside, Jonah Bolden has flashed signs of the skills that saw him drafted into the NBA, scoring from inside and out and rebounding the ball at a high rate.
Who: Melbourne United vs Sydney Kings
Tip-off: 4pm AEDT, Sunday 19 November, 2023
Where: John Cain Arena Arena, Melbourne
Watch: 10 Peach and Kayo Freebies
Listen: Cluch Radio
Tickets: Purchase here