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NBL clubs Adelaide and Perth

NBL finals preview: Adelaide v Perth

One of the fiercest rivalries in the NBL is set to explode in this series, with these traditional enemies sure to ratchet up the physicality.

Perth bring an astonishing record into this series, lining up for their 31st consecutive finals campaign which has resulted in eight championships including three out of the last four.

This is a side that never says die; and even with a roster perhaps slightly below previous years they have scrapped and fought their way into another post-season.

That is not to say this Wildcats outfit is weak, far from it. Import Bryce Cotton was unveiled as this season's MVP at the NBL awards veteran while Damian Martin was awarded Best Defensive Player for an NBL-record sixth time.

Martin knows how tense matches with Adelaide can be, but he said the players were all willing to take their licks to get the job done.

"You've got to be careful," Martin said.

"It's about being there, a part of your brotherhood, but also knowing there's bigger things on the line then winning a shoving match. I'd much rather win a series and lose some push-and-shove, then have it the other way around.

"We're playing for bigger things than that."

Indeed, Adelaide have been flogging each other at training to prepare for the physical series they anticipate. 

Point guard Adam Doyle joked that there were 'were a couple of teeth (flying) and a split eye' during a practice match this week.

"We’ve been practising it during the week so I think we’ll be fine, we’re just there to win," he said.

In their round 17 clash in Perth, there was an all-in melee that saw two players suspended. So perhaps the team that can negate the niggle the best will be the victors here.

Certainly, Adelaide looks the better team on paper. Imports Josh Childress. Ramone Moore and Shannon Shorter have combined well this season and that has been matched by a definitive lift from Aussie rising stars Daniel 'DJ' Johnson, Mitch Creek and Nathan Sobey.

But Perth just seems to keep finding ways to win championships, no matter how high the odds are stacked are against them.

Picking the victor is a tough assignment, but after Adelaide finished top of the ladder last season only to miss out on the grand final series, we are backing them to go one step further this time around.

Adelaide 36ers squad: Josh Childress, Brendan Teys, Daniel Johnson, Adam Doyle, Mitch Creek, Nathan Sobey, Matthew Hodgson, Majok Deng, Anthony Drmic, Ramone Moore, Shannon Shorter, Nelson Larkins, Caleb Davis

Perth Wildcats squad: Jesse Wagstaff, Jarrod Kenny, Damian Martin, Lucas Walker, Greg Hire, Angus Brandt, Dexter Kernich-Drew, Bryce Cotton, Derek Cooke Jr, Jean-Pierre Tokoto, Clint Steindl, Rhys Vague, Mason Bragg, Lochlan Cummings

Head to head 2017/18
December 8: Perth def Adelaide 88-79
January 4: Adelaide def Perth 97-86
February 2: Perth def Adelaide 111-90
February 4: Adelaide def Perth 94-82

Finals schedule:
Game 1: 7.30pm AEDT, Saturday, March 3 at Titanium Security Arena, Adelaide
Game 2: 9.30pm AEDT, Friday, March 9 at Perth Arena
Game 3: (if required), time TBC, Sunday, March 11 at Titanium Security Arena, Adelaide

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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