The Saigon Heat are currently out of the top four in the standings as they take on the Wolf Warriors at home. Holding 11 wins against nine losses, the Heat know that they will have to end the elimination round strongly so that they will have home-court advantage in the quarterfinals.
The Wolf Warriors, on the other end, are still stuck at the bottom of the standings but they could be a dangerous foe at this point as there’s no more pressure on them to win.
If they could score an upset victory over a team heading into the playoffs, it is something they could hang their hat on as thy head into an early offseason after their ABL debut.
The last game of Saigon ended with a tough loss to the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia. The Heat, who usually rely on their three-point shooting, were outgunned by the Knights from the long range. This proved to be the deciding factor as Saigon had four less three-point conversions and then went on to lose by only two points.
With Kyle Barone heading back to active duty, Saigon pulled off a gutsy move as they parted with their best shooter Murphy Burnatowski as they decided to keep DeAngelo Hamilton. This was Hamilton’s second stint as the substitute import for the Heat as he also played for them when Trevon Hughes was injured but it ended up being a permanent gig heading into the playoffs.
Still, Hughes will remain to be the focal part of their offense as he is the engine that makes everything work. He has been outstanding all season long but he needs to find another gear to help his team get to a favorable spot in the playoffs.
The Wolf Warriors did not stand a chance against the rampaging Macau Black Bears in their last game as they were beaten in every meaningful statistical category. There are a lot of areas to improve for the youngest ABL franchise but the biggest key for them is to minimize errors as their opponents have been capitalizing on their mistakes.
Mike Bell has continued to perform well for the Wolf Warriors but the problem is that he gets no consistent help from his teammates. With the opposing defense focusing all their might on Bell, it gets tougher and tougher for him to produce.
Their best local Cai Chen is usually good for at least 15 points per contest but even he could not produce against the Black Bears as he only finished with six points although he grabbed 10 rebounds.