PREVIEW | 2023/24 NBL Championship Series – Game Two

THE weekend has arrived, and the first of two 2023/24 National Basketball League (NBL) Championship Series games is set to take place tonight, with plenty of intrigue surrounding the clash.

Game two sees the series move to MyState Bank Arena, where the Tasmania JackJumpers will host Melbourne United on Friday night, and after a big week in Tasmanian sport, the vocal crowd is set to play a pivotal part in the result of the match.

The stakes are extremely high as the second matchup shapes as extremely important, with United looking to take a commanding 2-0 lead, while the JackJumpers will be eager to tie up proceedings.

Tasmania JackJumpers (3rd) vs. Melbourne United (1st)

MyState Bank Arena
Friday, March 22 @7:30pm

After a game one fizzer, the JackJumpers will be looking to bounce back and deliver a much improved performance and stop United from claiming another blowout win and make the series tied at one game apiece.


When the two sides locked horns at John Cain Arena on Sunday afternoon in a highly anticipated opening clash, United were simply too dominant for most of the match. The home side broke away in the second and third quarter, and were absolutely clinical on both ends en route to a massive 104-81 win to take the upper hand in the series.


The JackJumpers will be eager to improve on last Sunday’s showing, after conceding a 23-point loss at John Cain Arena. They were thoroughly outclassed from the halfway mark of the second quarter onwards, and will need improved efforts on both ends of the court if they are to take down the championship favourites. Tasmania found itself on a massive offensive drought for stages of the game, and was punished for a lack of production on the scoring front against a quality outfit. More adjustments to defensive coverages will be needed if the JackJumpers are to keep their offence rolling against a Melbourne side that prides itself on defence.

It was just about the perfect start to the series for United on Sunday afternoon, taking full advantage of the depth on their roster to put Tasmania to the sword in an emphatic showing in front of their home crowd. All of Melbourne’s big names played a key part in one way or another, showing just how dangerous the team truly is. If United can get a similar output from their stars in game two, it will go a long way to securing a win. However, the MyState Bank Arena atmosphere is one of the toughest road trips in the NBL, and the vocality of the crowd will be emphasised after Dean Vickerman made a not-so-subtle jab at his opposing coach in the media throughout the week, so Melbourne will need to get off to a strong start to silence the fans.


Tasmania’s big names were well-contained in game one, with no one able to produce the semi-final heroics that got the team to the big dance. One factor that could change the entire series is the production of guard Jordan Crawford, who has been in a serious slump throughout the postseason. After averaging 17 points per game throughout the regular season, baskets have been hard to come by, emphasised by a 3/13 shooting performance in game one. At his best, he has shown the ability to deliver up to 30 points in a game, which would go a long way to getting Tasmania to victory.

The importance of Jo Lual-Acuil‘s form was on full display in game one, as the big man completely owned the paint against Tasmania in game one. He delivered a massive double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds, and his aggression on the offensive end saw his counterpart in Will Magnay find himself in foul trouble. Melbourne will be hopeful that Lual Acuil maintains his mindset from the opening game and can continue to punish the opposition with thunderous slams and massive blocks.


Tasmania JackJumpers by six points.

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