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Games Behind, NBL13, WNBL12Tweet
HOW tight is the NBL competition? Well, even with people starting to murmur Cairns may have fallen out of the playoff race, truth is the Taipans are 3.5 games out of first place.
That is tight, and the WNBL ladder also is cramped at the top, although that top-four quest essentially is down to five clubs.
And while Townsville is talking up its threepeat title goal, just making the four will be enough of a challenge.
Here are the tables, utilising the North American table system.
LOOKING back on what's happened so far, here is where your NBL club sits, in terms of every respective four-game season-series.
ADELAIDE: V Brisbane 2-1, +3 lead. Series still very much in balance. V Cairns 2-0, +29. Two to go and points difference is strong. V Illawarra 0-2, -45 points. Would take a miracle to save this. V Melbourne 1-2 behind, -34. Beating United by 35 next time? Truly unlikely. V NZ 1-1, -16. Very much up for grabs. V Perth 2-1, +7. Still up for grabs. V Sydney 3-0, +15. Series won, regardless of last game.
BRISBANE: V Adelaide 1-2, -3. Only need a four-point win to pinch this. V Cairns 2-1, +20. Probably have this sealed given the points difference. V Illawarra 0-2, -16. The two games to go are both in Wollongong. Series can be won but it'll take plenty. V Melbourne 1-2, -36. That 38-point loss has cost them this one. V NZ 1-2, -17. Got to win last one by 18. Tough call. V Perth 2-0, +22. In good shape to close this out although differential isn't as huge as it seems when spread across two games. V Sydney 2-1, +8. Very much wide open.
CAIRNS: V Adelaide 0-2, -29. Will take a lot to salvage this. V Brisbane 1-2, -20. Points difference is a worry. V Illawarra 2-0, +32. In a strong position. V Melbourne 1-2, +2. Just need a win to steal this. V NZ 2-0, +18. In good shape to clinch this one too. V Perth 0-1, -10. Fair way to go yet in this series. V Sydney 1-3, -17. This one is done and dusted. And lost.
ILLAWARRA: V Adelaide 2-0, +45. Points difference makes this virtually won. V Brisbane 2-0, +16. In box seat to clinch this one too. V Cairns 0-2, -32. This will take some salvaging. V Melbourne 1-1, -3. Still up for grabs. V NZ 2-1, +20. This one looks virtrually won. V Perth 2-2, -6. Have lost this one. V Sydney 1-3, -15. Have also lost this series.
MELBOURNE: V Adelaide 2-1, +34. Have this won. V Brisbane 2-1, +36. This is in the bag too. V Cairns 2-1, -2. A win clinches it. V Illawarra 1-1, +3. Series very much alive. V NZ 1-2, +13. Only need to win fourth one. V Perth 0-2, -6. Series can still be saved. V Sydney 2-1, -6. Will be defendfing a six-point buffer in last meeting.
NEW ZEALAND: V Adelaide 1-1, +16. In pretty good shape here. V Brisbane 2-1, +17. Defending a solid points differential. V Cairns 0-2, -18. Can save this series with two games left. V Illawarra 1-2, -20. Need a 21-point win to steal this. Don't see it. V Melbourne 2-1, -13. A win clinches it. V Perth 2-1, +11. Have a reasonable margin to defend but this will be tight. V Sydney 0-2, -19. Will take some work to get out of this with a series win.
PERTH: V Adelaide 1-2, -7. An 8-point win steals this. V Brisbane 0-2, -22. Tough road ahead here but over two games, points difference is gettable. V Cairns 1-0, +10. Long way to go yet in this one. V Illawarra 2-2, +6. Won this series in Wollongong last round. V Melbourne 2-0, +6. Lots left in this series yet. V NZ 1-2, -11. Need a 12-point win. V Sydney 1-1, +2. Definitely up for grabs
SYDNEY: V Adelaide 0-3, -15. Series lost, regardless of last game. V Brisbane 1-2, -8. Need a 9-point win. V Cairns 3-1, +17. Series done and won. V Illawarra 3-1, +15. Series won. V Melbourne 1-2, +6. Life left in Game 4 of this, for sure. V NZ 2-0, +19. Close to won. V Perth 1-1, -2. Lots of life left in this one too.
SO it's a huge round this week with Illawarra at Adelaide where a win seals the series for the Hawks while the 36ers start from a 45-point differential hole.
New Zealand is at Cairns where a Taipans win ends this series but a Breakers win keeps it alive.
Melbourne heads into Wollongong at 1-1 with Illawarra but United ahead by a long-bomb.
Perth is in Sydney where their series is 1-1, the Wildcats holding a single basket advantage.
Adelaide travels to New Zealand needing to win to keep this alive, the Breakers with a 16-point buffer, the series tied 1-1.
Perth wraps the round up in Brisbane where it must win, trailing 0-2 in the series and behind by 22 points.
Honestly though, this tight, prioritising just getting the win is what it's about and only if that appears done (which is rarely) can there be any attention spent on points spreads.