NBL: Perth Wildcats wary of Illawarra Hawks threat

The Wildcats were at their best and worst in two games against the Sydney Kings. Picture: Getty Images
The Wildcats were at their best and worst in two games against the Sydney Kings. Picture: Getty Images

THE past two games against the Sydney Kings were in stark contrast to each other.

Thursday’s win at home typified the best of Wildcats basketball, but Saturday’s away loss showed what happens when we don’t play our brand of the game.

While it was not ideal to play Sydney back-to-back in such close proximity, there’s a good possibility it could happen in the post-season, like last season’s hectic finals schedule.

The Kings roster is talent ridden, boasting former league MVPs, past NBA players and former Australian Boomers.

One Kings player I respect tremendously is Brad Newley.

I looked up to him in my first years in the league and watched plenty of his vision in the hope of implementing a couple of his strengths into my game.

Upon returning from Europe, he’s been playing some quality basketball so it was definitely a great challenge to go up against him.

I can say he definitely had the upper hand after going for seven from 10 from downtown on Thursday night.

But the experience of matching up against a player I admired in my early years definitely got the juices flowing.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t replicate Thursday night into success on Saturday.

We suffered too many defensive breakdowns.

On the road you need to win the possession game and get most of the 50-50 balls; regrettably that didn’t occur.

I hope Thursday night reassured our team that when we play within our systems and implement them accordingly, we are a tremendously good team.

This Sunday’s game features the Illawarra Hawks who are coming off a great 30-point win against the NZ Breakers.

They will be coming into the Arena with plenty of confidence and a point to prove so it will be up to us to set the tone early and apply the principles that make us a tough outfit.