At different points in time, different players for United have gotten hot for stretches of the game. Perfect example was the last Townsville game when Holt went crazy in the first quarter, then Kickert set up a shooting clinic in the second quarter. They managed to put on 93 points with a guy who's probably the league’s best individual scorer having an off night, and a 500 game NBA player being rested and playing 6 minutes.
But what yesterday’s game showed was the importance of rebounding. Illawarra only had 9 turnovers and they hit 12 three pointers at 42%. But they still lost, and one of the main reasons was that Perth absolutely battered them on the boards.
United themselves gave up 15 O boards against Cairns on Saturday night. Perth will make you pay if you give them that many second chances. So rebounding will be a huge focus for United heading into Thursday’s game.
I wouldn’t say that United are the "obvious favourites". I have seen the last 4 United games (and attended 3 of them), but Perth’s effort yesterday impressed me more than anything United have done this season. To be missing who they were missing, on the road, and win the game the way that they did was a mighty achievement. United have looked good, but looking good on your home court against weak opposition means that they have not been tested yet.
Unlike United, Perth have a *proven* team, in the sense that the majority of their team have been there, done that. They have *proven* that they can succeed over a long period of time and under pressure. United have not done that yet.
United clearly have incredible talent though. So right now I’d say those two teams are the clear favourites. But with NZ having Webster back, Randle looking like a superstar who is the perfect player for Wright, and the Hawks still with Rhys martin to return, it’s shaping up to be a great season.
Thursday’s game will determine outright favouritism, but there’s a long way to go so sit back and enjoy!