The former Australian Baby Boomer Center takes a look at the hoops action of the week and gives its predictions. Watch every NBL Season 21/22 game live and on-demand with ESPN on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial> Catch Anstey weekly on the Logue Down Basketball podcast. Illawarra Hawks v Melbourne UnitedMelbourne have looked strong in recent weeks thanks to four straight wins, but Chris Anstey believes their benchmark is yet to come. United haven’t played since Jan. 1 because of Covid, and Anstey doubts they’re ready to knock down Brian Goorjian’s Hawks on the road. “United got over it, they were tough but they still have some speed to go and I think it will take a little while for them to find the best speed,” said Anstey. “Having said that, I will tip Illawarra to win.” Illawarra hasn’t played since Dec. 19 – a much longer stint on the sidelines – but Anstey won’t choose against the Hawks until a rival team can always show an ability to beat the ‘Gong boys. “The Hawks aren’t going to give up defensively, they’re going to let all three balls fly, be aggressive and they’re so deep and athletic,” he said. “The top level talent the Hawks have with their guards in Tyler Harvey and Justinian Jessup, Duop Reath and I really love their import duo in Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Antonius Cleveland. Anstey sees United being too strong, although ‘He thinks Breakers goalkeeper Peyton Siva can cause headaches defensively. “Good things happen when Siva is on the ground, and he’s really disruptive defensively with quick hands,” he said. I think even against someone like Dellavedova and Goulding he might give them some trouble getting the ball forward. “It will create some level of discomfort for United, but the depth of their talent and experience should be too good.” Time: Hawks v United: Sunday Jan. 16 from 1 p.m. (AEDT) and live on ESPN, 10Peach and KayoUnited v Breakers: Friday, Jan. 14 from 7:30 p.m. (AEDT) and live on ESPN and KayoAnstey’s Picks: Hawks on United and United on Breakers Brisbane Bullets v South East Melbourne Phoenix The Phoenix have not played since December 18 due to Covid, and Anstey feels he could open the door to injured Brisbane after their loss to the Breakers. The Bullets were very disappointing against New Zealand, but the loss could stoke the fire within the squad. “There’s a part of me that thinks the loss to the Breakers could toughen up the Bullets for this one against the Phoenix and they could sneak into a win,” Anstey said. I imagine they would be ready, especially with the Phoenix coming out of such a long hiatus. Time: Saturday, Jan.15 from 5:30 p.m. (AEDT) and live on ESPN and KayoTAB CHANCES: Phoenix $ 1.62 and Bullets $ 2.30 Anstey’s Pick: Bullets over Phoenix Illawarra Hawks v Sydney KingsSydney will be a team completely different with import guard Jaylen Adams returning from an ankle injury. Adams has only played one regular season game, since the first round, and his inclusion is a big plus for the Kings from a standpoint. goals and creation. “Adams is the type of player, like Chris Goulding at United, as an elite talent who can score and create space for his teammates,” Anstey said. “I can’t wait to see him on the pitch again. He just makes life easier for his teammates and I expect Xavier Cooks to have more room to operate and the other Kings players to improve. put in that MVP conversation when he produces his best form. ”Anstey, however, expects the Hawks to triumph thanks to their depth and head coach Brian Goorjian. He believes Goorjian is the best in the business at making sure his teams are prepared, especially following a forced dismissal. “Goorj is the absolute best coach in this regard,” he said. “The Hawks have had a small block of training during this time of Covid once they’ve recovered and their skill, preparation and cohesion will help them make this one.” Sydney finished the round against the Breakers at home and Anstey tip the Kings to win off star guard Adams Time: Hawks v Kings: Thursday Jan. 13 from 7:30 p.m. (AEDT) and live on ESPN and KayoTAB CHANCES: Hawks $ 1.48, Kings $ 2.60 Time: Kings v Breakers: Sunday, Jan. 16 from 3 p.m. (AEDT) and live on ESPN, 10Peach and KayoAnstey’s picks: Hawks over Kings and Kings over Breakers Adelaide 36ers vPerth WildcatsAnstey wants to know more about key Adelaide players for the 36ers to have a chance to beat Perth. “Mitch McCarron has to stand up, Dusty Hannahs has to stay consistent and we have to know who Todd Withers is as a player,” Anstey said. ‘in Perth you have Bryce Cotton then you add Vic Law, Mitch Norton , Todd Blanchfield and more imports. “They are the team to beat every year until they don’t and I can’t see that happening for a while.” Time: Tuesday, Jan. 18 from 7:30 p.m. and live on ESPN and Kayo Anstey’s pick: Wildcats New Zealand Breakers v Tasmania JackJumpers The Breakers are in last place, but Anstey believes the New Zealanders can gain momentum with a victory over Tasmania. “They’ll have two back-to-back games under their belt, they’ll be game hardened and they’ll have figured out a lot over the last week,” said Anstey. “The JackJumpers are struggling to score points, and the Breakers might have a bit too much polish and cohesion in their game. Time: Wednesday, Jan. 19 from 7:30 p.m. (AEDT) and live on ESPN and KayoAnstey’s pick : BreakersAnstey’s NBL multi: Hawks over United, Kings over Breakers and Wildcats over 36ers.