The Best of the Day preview takes it to the hole with NBL tips for a crucial Thursday night match-up between SEM Phoenix and Brisbane Bullets. 

NBL Tips – South East Melbourne Phoenix V Brisbane Bullets

19:30 (AEST) @ John Cain Arena, Melbourne

History: Played 4: Phoenix 3 V Bullets 1

Last meeting: February 21, 2021: Phoenix 99 d Bullets 83 at John Cain Arena

Final thoughts: The Best of the Day preview breaks down a key NBL showdown as the race for the playoffs heats up.

The 14-12 South East Melbourne Phoenix are fourth on the NBL ladder. They arrested a concerning three-game slide with an 86-66 beatdown of the struggling Taipans on Sunday.

Cameron Giddon (22 pts, 8 reb) was a standout in the pressure-relieving win. But Mitch Creek – who averages 20 points, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists – remains their go-to man.

The 10-13 Bullets have slipped to sixth following a torrid recent run, losing six of their last seven.

Brisbane crashed heavily in their last two against the Breakers (91-71) and Wildcats (92-74). Lamar Patterson, who returned to the Bullets from the Breakers earlier this month, put up 19 points and 11 rebounds against Perth. Linchpin Nathan Sobey had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Bullets concede the second-most points per game in the league and have kept their opponents to less than 90 in only one of their last five outings. But the Phoenix are the only side who leak more on average.

The Phoenix have won three of their four games against the Bullets since joining the NBL. In the clubs’ only clash so far this season, SEM took out their NBL Cup fixture 99-83.

Creek (29 pts, 9 reb) top-scored and Kiefer Sykes (14 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast) chalked up a rare triple-double for the Phoenix. Matt Hodgson (20 pts, 9 reb) was the Bullets’ best from the bench.

There’s a strong case to be made for the over with the total line set at 179.5. But the Phoenix shape as a sound Best of the Day bet with the Bullets in a rough spot.

Tip: Handicap – Phoenix -6.5 @ $1.93