The Kapura Capital Swish (1-1) return to south Auckland tonight knowing that a win either tonight (vs Dream) or tomorrow (vs Gold Rush) is likely to see them grab a spot in the playoffs.
Tonight's match-up with the ETCO Auckland Dream will be tough, but certainly gettable.
The Dream opened the 18IN18 season in style, grabbing wins against the Waikato Wizards and Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats, while the Swish split their games against the Wildcats (win) and Breeze (loss).
If the Swish are to win tonight a lot will ride on the shoulders of captain Letava Whippy and strong forward Paris Lokotui, while defensively the team from the capital will need to find a way to slow Sharne Robati and Arielle Williams-Mackey.
There is a fair chance this will be an open and free-flowing game as both teams like to run and will be keen to push the ball.
Taking care of possession will be a likely factor as teams continue to struggle with turnovers, while steadily we are seeing shooting percentages rise as teams settle in and some solid shooting here will also be a factor, especially from long range.
The Dream will start favourites, but underestimating the Swish would be dangerous. This game has the potential to go right down to the wire.
Key Swish Players: Levata Whippy, Grace Vaofusi, Paris Lokotui.
Key Dream Players: Sharne Robati, Arielle Williams-Mackey, Casyn Buchman.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Respect the Swish. While the Dream will start favourites, the Swish have a team that is more than capable of causing an upset. If WHippy, Vaofusi, Lokotui, Penese, Taulelei and Selby-Rickett all get going they will certainly create some headaches for the Dream.
2. Sharne Robati tore the Wizards and Wildcats apart last week. An early favourite for the Sky City Hotel MVP, Robati will be the player to watch tonight and no doubt the Swish have been doing their homework ahead of this clash.
3. Look after the ball. The turnover count has been high right across the league over the first eight games and it remain the one area that continues to see teams fluctuate from quarter to quarter. As we head towards playoffs the team that consistently looks after the ball might emerge as the champion. Both the Swish and Dream will be well aware of this and will be looking to take care of possession tonight.
WHAT: Sal's NBL 18IN18
WHERE: Pulman Arena, south Auckland
WHEN: 7:30pm tip-off
COST: Adults $10 | U18s free
BROADCAST: Live on Sky Sport Select (Ch 50) and delayed on Prime TV (10:30pm).