The Best of the Day preview takes it to the rim with NBL tips for a vital clash between out-of-sorts rivals Illawarra Hawks and Brisbane Bullets.

NBL Tips – Illawarra Hawks V Brisbane Bullets

19:30 (AEST) @ WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong

History: Played 20: Hawks 11 V Bullets 9

Last meeting: March 29, 2021: Hawks 96 d Bullets 72 at WIN Entertainment Centre

Final thoughts: The Best of the Day preview breaks down the NBL Round 13 opener between a couple of top-four hopefuls who have hit the skids in recent weeks.

Early-season bolters Illawarra Hawks have slipped to 10-10 record after losing four of their last five. The fifth-placed Hawks have started April in awful style, crashing 95-63 to the Phoenix and 84-72 to the 36ers.

Illawarra’s only win since March 13 came against tonight’s opponents, Brisbane Bullets. The Hawks romped to a 96-72 victory last Monday after opening up a 20-point halftime lead.

Hawks guard Tyler Harvey went off for 28 points, while Deng Adel had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench. Nathan Sobey (11 pts, 5 reb, 7 ast) and Jason Cadee, who had 17 points off the bench, were the best of a beaten Bullets outfit.

The 9-10 Bullets bookended that one-sided result with an overtime defeat to the Breakers and a 90-71 loss at the hands of the Kings on Saturday.

Sobey put up 31 points and 8 rebounds against the Kings, while Tyrell Harrison came off the bench to pull down 18 rebounds.

The Hawks have won three of the teams’ four encounters this season. They prevailed 90-84 and 90-82 on the road in January, before the Bullets responded with a 97-91 victory in Brisbane in February.

It’s crunch time for both teams, but with the Bullets’ offence faltering lately the Hawks are shaping as a reliable Best of the Day option at home.

Tip: Handicap – Hawks -2.5 @ $1.85