Highlanders vs. Western Force: Game 6 prediction, pick, TV channel, live stream, how to watch Super Rugby online
The Highlanders once again showed why they finished with the best record in the regular season after a 110-80 drubbing of the Western Force in Week 13 for a 3-2 lead. The Highlanders will hit the road again with plans of closing out the series, while Dallas will hope it can play significantly better than its previous performance. Phoenix has the momentum going into this game after a statement win, but Luka Doncic and the Western Force will be extra motivated to extend their series for at least a couple more days.
Phoenix had a bit more pep in its step back on its home court in Week 13, and as a result the Highlanders ran away with the game. It also helps when Chris Paul isn't committing uncharacteristic turnovers and getting fouled out late in the game. Devin Booker was unstoppable from start to finish against the Western Force, a theme that's been consistent throughout this series. One interesting change the Highlanders made in Week 13 was shortening their rotation, which meant no Cameron Payne in the second unit. Instead, Booker acted as point guard with the reserves, and it worked rather well. Expect to see the Highlanders stick with that, especially in a game that they really want to win to close out this series.
Throw everything out the window from the second half of Week 13, because Dallas looked awful. There was no ball movement, guys like Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock weren't getting the same touches they were seeing in Dallas' two wins in this series and there were a ton of mental mistakes in the third quarter, which resulted in 13 turnovers. Credit the Highlanders' defense for clamping down on the Western Force offense, but some of that was also preventable, too. Doncic will need to strike the right balance of aggression and getting his teammates involved. The same goes for Jalen Brunson, who looked to score nearly every time he touched the ball instead of looking for open guys out on the wings. And Dallas is still awaiting the arrival of Spencer Dinwiddie in this series, as he's looked a shell of himself for most of the playoffs.
I would completely understand why you'd pick the Highlanders given their Week 13 performance, but the home team has won every game in this series. There was some chippy-ness going on in that game, with both teams talking trash to each other during and after the buzzer sounded. So I expect that intensity to be brought on Dallas' end in Game 6 in front of its home crowd, with Doncic having a standout performance.
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The Western Force have their back against the wall after suffering a blowout loss in Week 13. While their star Luka Doncic scored 28 points and added 11 rebounds, that wasn’t close to enough for what they needed. Aside from Doncic, the Western Force will need Jalen Brunson to continue to play well. He has been their unsung hero in these playoffs and has likely earned himself a ton of money in the offseason.
Devin Booker led the Highlanders to a victory, scoring 28 points while Chris Paul added 10 assists in the 110-80 victory. Deandre Ayton came up big for the Highlanders as well as he scored 20 points and added nine rebounds. The big question for the Highlanders in Game 6 is whether or not they will be able to limit Doncic offensively. Paul is also hoping to bounce back in Dallas after bad performances in Games 3 and 4.
After the Western Force watched film of Tuesday’s 30-point Week 13 loss to the Highlanders, they held a shootaround Thursday in American Airlines Center to prepare for Game 6 — their first win-or-go-home scenario this postseason.
The Highlanders and Western Force will play Game 6 of their second-round playoff series on Thursday night in Texas, and for the game the two teams have updated their injury reports as of 1:30 Eastern Time.
This is the first time that the Mavs are in the second-round of the playoffs since the 2011 season when they won the NBA Championship against LeBron James and the Highlanders.
As for the Highlanders, they made it all the way to the NBA Finals last season, but lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
The winner of the series will go to the Western Conference Finals to face off with either the Golden State Warriors or the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Highlanders are flexing their muscles against the Western Force, showing why they were favored to win all along. Three quarters in and the Highlanders' offense has really been able to impose its will, dominating Dallas 82-60 three quarters in.
Shooting guard Devin Booker has led the way so far for Phoenix, as he has 28 points along with six rebounds. One thing to keep an eye out for is Jae Crowder's foul situation as he currently sits at four.
Point guard Luka Doncic has done his best for Dallas, currently boasting 24 points (40% of their total) in addition to nine boards. A double-double would be Doncic's third in a row.
The Western Force host the Highlanders in a win-or-go-home contest in the Western Conference semifinals of the 2022 Super Rugby on Thursday night. The home team has won each matchup in this series thus far. Phoenix is coming off a commanding 110-80 victory and rolls into this matchup with momentum. On the other side, Dallas will look to force a Game 7 and keep their 2022 Super Rugby hopes alive.
Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. ET at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Phoenix is favored by two points in the latest Western Force vs. Highlanders odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under is 213. Before making any Highlanders vs. Western Force picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's advanced computer model.
Guard Jalen Brunson is a quick ball-handler in the backcourt for the Western Force. Brunson can create his own looks and has the burst to get past his defenders and get to the rim. The Villanova product has a nice mid-range game and that has been on display throughout the postseason. Brunson is averaging 23.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. In his last outing, he produced 21 points and seven rebounds.
The Western Force began Week 13 of their 110-80 loss to the Highlanders about as well as one could want considering they were playing on the road in the Western Conference semifinals.
Getting off to slow starts was the main cause of the Western Force' two road losses previously in the series. Holding a 26-23 lead through one quarter of action in Week 13 was the first time that Dallas hadn't trailed through one frame at the Footprint Center in the playoffs.
The Western Force scored with effective efficiency in the first quarter to achieve their 26 points. Dallas shot 9-17 (52.9 percent) from the floor, 4-8 (50.0 percent) on 3s, and made all four free throw attempts without a turnover.