The 6th and 7th team in the NBL will face off against each other on February 9th at WIN Entertainment Centre, the home of Illawarra Hawks, where they await New Zealand Breakers for their 3rd H2H match of the season.
Illawarra Hawks are currently 6th in the NBL league with a 12-14 record and a 2-3 record in their last 5 games. In the span of the last 5 games. Hawks won against Cairns twice (82:81), (110:95) and lost to Melbourne United (113:89), Perth (104:90) and most recently against Brisbane Bullets (98:87) (OT). The mentioned match against Bullets was fairly close. In fact, it was so close the teams played overtime after the regular time ended with a score of 84:84. On the contrary to the regular time, the overtime was not even remotely close. Instead, it was Bullets who completely dominated the Hawks who only managed to score 3 points, while Brisbane put up 14. This meant the match ended with a double digit (11 points) win for Brisbane (98:87). While it’s not all lost for the Hawks, they would need to improve drastically if they wish to end the season among the top 4, which is their ultimate goal for this season.
New Zealand Breakers come into this match as the 7th team in the league with an overall record of 10-15, which is as of now the 2nd worst record in the NBL. In their last 5 games, Breakers won 2, but then lost the next 3 matches. Breakers lost against Melbourne United on 2 occasions (87:107), (111:102) and most recently lost against Adelaide (107:114). The mentioned match against Adelaide was fairly one-sided, with Adelaide accumulating a double-digit lead prior to the last quarter (75:88). In the last quarter we did see Breakers performing much better, but still not good enough to close the gap of 13 points, instead, they only managed to reduce the gap to 7. The match ended with a final score of 107:114, which marked the 3rd consecutive defeat for Breakers.
Comparing the two sides, the Hawks are clearly a better team in my eyes. While it’s true they lost their most recent match against Brisbane Bullets due to extremely bad performance in the overtime, I only see it as a small setback. Hawks are well aware they need to win as many games as they can if they wish to climb to the top 4 spot in the league, which would get them into the playoffs and what better chance to do so that the match against Breakers who are in terrible shape at the moment. The last time these two sides met (January 18th 2019), it was Illawarra Hawks who won 107:96. The upcoming match will be played in the same conditions, with the only exception being the poor form of Breakers. Those and the recent performances from both sides are reason enough for me to say this match should be won by the home side. Expect Hawks to win the 2nd consecutive H2H match against Breakers tonight.
Prediction: Illawarra Hawks -2.00
Odds: 1.82 Pinnacle