By Aaron Callaghan
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The curtain has closed on the National Basketball League regular season. With each team preparing for their finals run it is a great time to take the league's temperature and preview the finals.
30 000 foot view
Leaving behind the ashes of seasons past like a slain vampire from the 'Blade Trilogy', the NBL is going from strength to strength on the court and off. Attendance is up, viewership is up and fans are really resonating with the on-court product. Most importantly the league in every aspect is trending upwards, the stink is gone.
There are eight highly competitive teams and the league is preparing to introduce a ninth team, the South East Phoenix as Melbourne’s second team.
The Stretch Run
Perth again topped the regular season standings for what feels like the 900th time, like death and taxes the NBL final series will feature those from the far off land in Western Australia. After slumping mid-season to mid table, the Wildcats turned their season around and are looking as formidable as always.
Matching up against Brisbane, Perth will have home court advantage and are odds-on favourites. Brisbane will be out matched offensively and may struggle to contain Bryce Cotton, who many claimed was robbed of the league’s MVP award.
Expect to see pissed off Bryce Cotton, with the entire state of Western Australia behind him, steam roll through the playoffs.
The two versus three match up sees the Ware and Goulding led Melbourne United taking on league MVP Andrew Bogut’s Sydney Kings. The Melbourne faithful in tune with the entire league’s supporter base will claim Andrew Bogut making the finals series is fait accompli and that there’s an active conspiracy to help Bogut’s kings. Clearly this is not the case in a transparent league. Expect a fiery series and plenty of flopping and twitter conversation about flopping.
The finals series kicks off March 3rd after the FIBA international window.
Sydney 2 - 1
Perth 2 - 0
I'll post lines and prop bets on socials closer to the games.