Hitech Bangkok City are coming off a 3 game winning streak and will be returning home for this game against the Saigon Heat who were looking like they were in peak form…before a serious meltdown.
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The Saigon Heat had won 3 straight games (2 against Mono Vampires and 1 against Pilipinas MX3 Kings) before they headed into MABA Stadium (Dragon’s Den). People at least expected a close game, as the two prior matches between them were quite entertaining. But the Dragons went off from the get go and the Saigon Heat seemed to have lost that game before the 1st quarter even ended.
They can’t let that happen against Hitech.
Even though they hold a firm lead against Mono Vampires in the standings (5 to 2 wins) it would take only a slip or two for the situation to change. The Heat should know, as they were the ones who reared up into the last playoff position late into last season.
Both teams are neck and neck in rebounding with Saigon (52.5 TRB%) slightly leading Hitech (52.4%). These two teams have athleticism spread out throughout their roster and that’s why they’ve been able to gobble up a lot of the misses. Interestingly, it’s been the Saigon Heat who have had the advantage in this area, without a win to back the saying that “Rebounds wins games”.
The culprit of the Saigon Heat’s woes against Hitech is keeping the ball in their hands. In two games against Hitech, the Heat have racked up an average of 19 turnovers at an 18.0% rate. Not good numbers at all.
It was first expected that the Saigon Heat will be bringing in a new import, Paul Williams, but it seems like his recovery from a leg injury might take a while. Cult Hero, Will Creekmore, will be continuing his awkward role as stopgap import to man the middle for the Saigon Heat.
It will be interesting to watch as Freddie Goldstein plays against the Saigon Heat, a team that he performs quite well against.
vs. Heat : 18.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 6.0 Steals, 42.9 eFG%
Season Average: 17.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.6 steals, 40.6 eFG%
If he continues his dominance on Stefan Nguyen, who has had trouble keeping up with him with his continued trouble of back injuries, the Saigon Heat will have a hard time taking this game.
X-Factor: David Harrison Arnold
While Freddie Goldstein plays better against the Saigon Heat, David Arnold’s performance drops when he has played Hitech this season.
vs. Hitech: 14.0 points, 33.3 FG%, 9.1 3P%, 42.9 FT%, 5.5 turnovers
Season Average: 16.6 points, 39.2 FG%, 30.8 3P%, 65.3 FT%, 3.9 turnovers
I feel that if David Arnold can play like his normal self (or if the Hitech defense allows him to), the Heat have got a really good chance to take this one. But if Arnold still continues to shoot blanks, Coach Tony Garbelotto might end up stalking the game from the bleachers again.
One of the problems that the Saigon Heat ran into against the KL Dragons might have been exhaustion. It’s not easy playing a second game on a road trip in 3 days without getting to go back home. The Heat did have a chance to go back to Saigon and fuel up for a bit since that lost on Saturday, but they will have to be on the move and back in action with about only two days of full rest. It might seem like a lot, but considering how much Coach Tony might gave drilled them in practice after that loss to the Dragons and Hitech could be playing a very fatigued Heat team at home.
You never know what could happen, but I like my chances with Hitech beating Saigon Heat by 11 points.
Feature Picture from Onvisa Thewphaingarm
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