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R16 Preview: Adelaide v Sydney

Who: Adelaide 36ers v Sydney Kings When: 7.30pm (AEDT), Wednesday 20 January Where: Titanium Security Arena, Adelaide Watch: Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ; NBL Live App Last time they met: Sydney 106 (Harrington 27, Cadee 22, Thornton 17) d Adelaide 84 (Randle 22, Johnson 15, Ere 11), Round 6, Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney THE MATCH-UP Daniel Johnson v Tom Garlepp – This pair may only spend limited time matched up, but their ability to drag opposition bigs to the perimeter is crucial for their teams, Johnson averaging 21.4 points at 61 per cent from long range in his past five games, Garlepp 21 points at 67 per cent. THE STATS  At home the 36ers concede just 81.4 points per game, compared to 91.5 on the road. Their past five games in Adelaide have cost them just 76.6 points per night. Jason Cadee averages 20.4 points, 4.8 assists and 6.5 free-throw attempts in wins compared to 10.8 points, 3.0 assists and 3.1 charity shots in defeat. THE STORY When Kings coach Joe Connelly said “ we don’t have a point guard” after his team’s loss in Perth last Friday it could have hit emerging floor general Jason Cadee hard. But having played three of his first four NBL seasons under Joey Wright, the 24-year-old is used to having any underperformance brutally challenged, albeit behind closed doors. “Sometimes I let it mess with me more when I was younger, but as I slowly got older and got used to Joey I got used to his method,” Cadee said. “This could be Joe’s way of challenging me too, doing it publicly, but whatever it is I’m not too fazed and I’ll still continue being the Jason Cadee I am.” That’s good news for Kings fans ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Adelaide, Cadee averaging 18.5 points, 5.0 assists and shooting 53 per cent from range in his past two games against his former team. “I think last year there was probably more nerves going into games against Adelaide than there have been this year,” he said. “I’m older and more mature this year, it’s not as daunting playing against your old team and your mates, it’s a bit more fun and more of a challenge this year.” Cadee ranks 18th in scoring and seventh in assists – up from 39th and 22nd last season - and a number of opposition teams are now making him a target, something expects from ex-teammates Adam Gibson and Anthony Petrie at training. “Me and Gibbo got into it multiple times (at training), me and Peach once we start talking it gets a bit heated,” he laughed. “I think Gibbo gave me a fair few whacks multiple times and I got him back a few too.” But one thing Cadee is serious about his getting some more wins for his hometown club. The Kings have shown they can match Adelaide this season, beating them by 22 points in Sydney and coming within some fourth-quarter free throws of a massive Round 5 road win. “Those games we’ve managed to get off to a good start, which has been a big thing,” he said. “Obviously that crowd is great and they're very supportive of the team, but they can at stages get that disgruntled feeling, which I think most fans do, but in Adelaide because of the atmosphere in that stadium you can really feel it.” THE WRAP A quick start is crucial for the Kings, who have struggled in second halves with their bench depleted by injuries. That makes the play of Cadee and Rhys Carter vital, Sydney wanting to push the ball but needing smart decisions in transition to keep Adelaide out of the open court. Josh Childress had another nightmare in Perth, but having averaged 24 points at 56 per cent, 8.3 boards and 3.8 blocks in four games against the 36ers, he’ll be feeling primed for another up-tempo shoot-out in the City of Churches. Townsville relentlessly attacked Jerome Randle defensively last round with success, but whether Sydney have the weapons to do so, and whether they can defend the Randle-Johnson pick-and-pop at the other end are key questions. The previously struggling perimeter quartet of Randle, Adam Gibson, Lucas Walker and Ebi Ere combined to hit 11-of-21 against the Crocs, and if they can even go close to repeating that mark the defensive challenge could be too much for the Kings.
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