Defending champions Perth Wildcats will host the Illawarra Hawks at the Perth Arena on Friday 11th October 2019 at 10:30 UTC time.
Perth played Melbourne United in their first game of the season and pulled out a narrow win. They claimed a 94-93 victory to get their campaign off to a winning start. Trailing going into the fourth quarter, Perth came back to beat Melbourne. The win was earned on the back of three performances. Point guard Bryce Cotton top-scored for his side with 21 points. Nick Kay had 18 points, 7 assists, and 8 rebounds for an all-round performance. Shooting guard Terrico White also impressed, and he had 20 points.
The Wildcats finished first last season on their way to the title. It was their fourth title in the previous six seasons, and they are the favourites this time as well. Trevor Gleeson has been the coach for all those championship runs, and he is in the dugout again this time. Bryce Cotton has been the club MVP for the past two years, and he will play a crucial role again this season.
Aside from the trio of Cotton, Kay, and White, Perth did not receive notable contributions from any members. Coach Gleeson will want the likes of Damian Martin and Mitch Norton to step up. The veteran Martin is the captain of the side, and he has been with the franchise since 2009. His experience will be handy as the Wildcats will attempt to defend their title.
Contrary to the Wildcats, the Hawks lost their season opener. They hosted the Brisbane Bullets and fell to a 90-81 loss. Brisbane had an explosive third quarter, and the Hawks could never quite recover from that deficit. Aaron Brooks starred despite the defeat, and he scored 23 points in the game. Brooks was signed in the offseason from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. The 34-year-old Brooks should be an excellent addition as the Hawks look to make the playoffs.
In his first game for Illawarra, LaMelo Ball had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists. Ball has gained popularity due to his brother Lonzo and father LaVar, but he is in Illawarra to get some playing experience before entering the NBA draft. The early signs are promising for the 18-year-old.
The Hawks finished seventh last season and failed to qualify for the playoffs. After reaching the final series in 2017, they have not finished in the top four since. Coach Rob Beveridge was relieved of his duties last season, and Matt Finn is in charge now. Illawarra were just two wins short of the playoff spots last season. The jump is not a big one to make, and Finn will be hopeful of delivering in his first season.
Perth Wildcats vs Illawarra Hawks Betting Tips
Perth will be favorite to get the win, as they look to start the season on a winning streak. The Hawks should not be any match for them, and the Wildcats should win by a margin of more than 10 points.