Hungry Jack's NBL
R16 Preview: Perth v Illawarra
Who: Perth Wildcats v Illawarra Hawks When: 9.30pm (AEDT), Thursday 21 January Where: Perth Arena Watch: Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ; NBL Live App Last time they met: Perth 99 (Beal 26, Prather 19, Knight 16) d Illawarra 96 (Lisch 25, Ogilvy 25, Penney 19), Round 6, WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong THE MATCH-UP Jermaine Beal v Kevin Lisch – It’s the question Wildcats fans often ask, who’s better – Lisch or Beal? D-Lisch is shaping as an MVP candidate, while Dolla has produced some incredible match-winning performances, none more brilliant than the last time these teams met.
Kevin Lisch with the best ankle breaker of the season. Jermaine Beal somehow survived and dropped 14 in the fourth https://t.co/xzx9JZIYhP — Jordan Mc (@crunchtimeshots) November 11, 2015After that move, Beal unleashed a three-pointer eight seconds later, the first of 12 points in less than six minutes as the Wildcats stormed from 11 points down to win. It capped a game that left former Wildcats coach and now Hawks’ boss Rob Beveridge shaking his head, his team giving up 22 offensive rebounds to lose the tempo control his game plan is built around. Beveridge’s fingerprints can still be found on this Wildcats team, coach Trevor Gleeson having empowered his senior players to use elements of team’s previous defensive systems. That shone through last Friday against Sydney, the ‘Cats wearing the Kings down with their pressure defence and then running away with a 52-29 second half. “Everyone keeps talking about the third quarter where we put that run on, the pressure builds up from the start and it’s that defensive system we’ve bought into,” Martin said. “Hopefully we can get some stops and get out and run because that’s our strength, particular with Jermaine on one wing and Casey (Prather) the other.” But dominating possession against the Hawks isn’t as easy as it used to be, Beveridge’s men plus-24 in the possession game in their past six outings, forcing 17.2 turnovers per night.
Jawai slams it down #HardBall @PerthWildcats @illawarrahawks https://t.co/m3AFPejcYy — NBL (@NBL) October 31, 2015The Wildcats will ask plenty of questions of Illawarra’s physicality, and while they have improved, New Zealand’s dominance was only painted over by the late-game brilliance of Lisch. The big question is whether Penney’s hamstring will be passed fit, and if the in-form sharpshooter can’t make the trip west it will take something special from Lisch for the Hawks to break their Western Australian drought.