The Saigon Heat get one last crack at Hitech Bangkok City. Can they make it count?
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The Saigon Heat have played the defending ABL Champs 3 times this season. Even though they lost all four matchups in the previous season, they were able to make things even closer this year. Close enough to give the defending champs a scare.
Yet, they have never been able to deliver that final blow.
Now, they will get one more chance to do so at their home court.
First of all, we should be celebrating David Arnold snapping out of his 3-game skid where he scored an abysmal 6 points per game on 16.1% shooting. He finally scored 20 points on 7/15 shooting against the KL Dragons. The Heat might have lost the game, but at least they have their same Captain Arnold back.
This game against Hitech will also be the second game for new import Paul Williams. Gone are Will Creekmore’s 14.9 shot attempts per game on 38.9% shooting. Williams didn’t have an impressive debut (7 points, 10 rebounds) but let’s be fair and give him a chance to prove himself to the home fans.
Hitech had an interesting week prior to this game. They started it off with a close loss to the Slingers in their formidable OCBC Arena, went and took an impressive away win against the KL Dragons, and finished off with a controversial ending against the Mono Vampires. They finally got a nice rest after that long road trip and should be more than prepared to play this game.
Since the New Year, Tyler Lamb has kicked it up a notch and has been scoring 24.0 points per game, almost a full 9 points up from his 15.1 points per game before the midseason break. He was two points away from scoring 5 straight 20 points games (scoring only 18 against the KL Dragons). If there is someone that the Saigon Heat to stop, it’s Lamb.
If anything, Hitech has shown a glaring weakness during the past few games. They have struggled to stop opponents from getting out on the fastbreak. It’s not completely bad on the same level as the Mono Vampires, but it’s been looking pretty bad nonetheless. With that said, Saigon’s a pretty good team on the break so…
You never know.
X-Factor: Stefan Nguyen
Paul Williams took only 4 shots in his debut. That drop from Creekmore’s 14 attempts per game leaves a lot of shots for the remaining Heat players to pick up. It would be fair enough to distribute it among the trio of Lenny Daniel, Moses Morgan, and David Arnold, but I feel like this is a pretty good time for Stefan Nguyen to take a step up offensively.
Because we’ve seen the same tape over and over again, I’m going to make a very bold prediction. The Saigon Heat are going to fall into a big gap early, but they’ll find a way to make the game close again.
But then Hitech will make a break at the end of the game and win it by 6 points.
Feature Picture from Onvisa Thewphaingarm
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