It’s 1-1 in the NBL Finals Series, which returns back to Melbourne after Adelaide squared the series at home.
Both games have gone to script so far but Game 3 this Friday night will determine which team is only one win away from capturing the 2017/2018 NBL title.
United will be hoping home court advantage is enough to see them go 2-1 up, but the Adelaide 36ers are coming off an encouraging and one-sided win, so their confidence will be sky high.
7:30pm Melbourne United vs. Adelaide 36ers @ Hisense Arena
Adelaide were completely dominant in Game 2 in Adelaide, winning 110-95 in a game that was over in the first quarter.
The 36ers shot out to a big lead and although it got a little closer in the second half, United were likely already thinking about Friday night’s game at home.
The confidence of the 36ers, particularly point-guard Shannon Shorter couldn’t be any higher, given his comments following their win last week.
“This is over in four, we handled our business at home, we’re going to win in Melbourne and we’re finishing it off in Adelaide,” said Shorter, who also had words for opposing PG Casper Ware.
“Casper Ware got his ass bust, he didn’t do s**t today.”
Casper Ware hasn’t been short of amazing this season and he’s a key reason why United even made the finals.
If it’s a battle between Shorter and Ware, we’d have to give the nod to Ware, who has the ability to shoot long-range bombs and also has the ability to drive through the line.
Ware wasn’t letting Shorter’s words get the better of him.
“I heard those comments,” Ware said.
“It’s easy for a guy like that to say something when he’s not really a big spark, he didn’t really do anything.
“He’s no worries for me, he can keep talking. If that’s what he’s got to do to stay relevant, let him do it.”
It has added fuel to an already fiery series between two teams that simply don’t like each other, but which team is going to show up this Friday night in Melbourne.
Both teams have their injury concerns but United and the 36ers should be healthy for Game 3.
Bookmakers have United as the $1.40 favourites, which is a touch short considering how easily Adelaide were able to beat them last week, but Melbourne were just as convincing at home to win Game 1.
Punters of Adelaide will be happy to see $2.96 in the head-to-head market and the +5.5 points start looks appealing given the form of both sides.
We’re waiting to see a close game this series after two blowout wins. This has all the makings of being a close contest and we think Adelaide can stick with United for the during of the game.
Another option we like is for Josh Boone to record a double-double. Sportsbet is paying $2 for United’s big man to score 10 points and get 10 rebounds, which shouldn’t be overly difficult against the trigger-happy 36ers.
Another great betting option is for Casper Ware to record over 5.5 assists. Ware loves to score himself but getting his teammates good looks will take United a long way to going 2-1 up in the series.
Look for Ware to silence any critics by dishing out some quality ball to the likes of Chris Goulding this Friday night.
He’s paying $1.83 at Sportsbet for this option.
Betting tip: 36ers +5.5 (1.90) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Game score: United 90 – 36ers 86