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Hawks underdogs in NBL finals push: coach

The Illawarra Hawks have been written off all season but they're still in with a chance of making the NBL finals, coach Rob Beveridge says.

Hawks underdogs in NBL finals push: coach

The Illawarra Hawks have been written off all season but they're still in with a chance of making the NBL finals, coach Rob Beveridge says.

Hawks coach ROB BEVERIDGE talks to his players during a break during the NBL match between the Illawarra Hawks and Melbourne United in Wollongong, Australia.
Hawks coach ROB BEVERIDGE talks to his players during a break during the NBL match between the Illawarra Hawks and Melbourne United in Wollongong, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images

Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge has happily declared the Hawks underdogs for their do or die NBL showdown with the Brisbane Bullets.

Widely dismissed as final four contenders throughout the season, the Hawks kept their playoff hopes afloat with Monday night's 110-95 home win over the last-placed Cairns Taipans, boosting their record to 12-13 with three games remaining.


That put them in a tie for fifth place with the Bullets (12-13), while Adelaide (13-12) are narrowly ahead in fourth spot behind finals-bound Melbourne (16-8), Perth (16-9) and Sydney (16-9).

Beveridge readily concedes his team can't afford another loss but insists the Hawks are under no pressure ahead of their match with the Bullets on Thursday.

"If we lose we're out and we know how tough it's going to be in Brisbane, but we're still in it, we feel good about ourselves and we're not putting any pressure on ourselves," Beveridge said.

"We've been written off for weeks - probably the whole season - and that's okay. We're not worried about that. We just want to finish as best as we can.

"The back end of the season has been very good. There's games we should've won that have hurt us, but that's in the past and I'm really happy with the way we're competing.

"Brisbane are the best three-point shooting team in the league and if we allow them to shoot the way they normally do and move the ball they'll beat us, so we have to defend that three-point line."

The clash with the Bullets is the second of three games in five days for the Hawks. They return home to host the New Zealand Breakers on Saturday.

A timely positive for Illawarra against Cairns was the performance of 2013 NBL MVP Cedric Jackson, who tormented the Taipans with 13 points, 10 assists and three steals.

Jackson will be looking for more of the same against the Bullets.

"The way we played the second half, that's how we have to approach it in Brisbane," Jackson said.

"Everything's on the line and we're just going to have to go into a hostile environment and try to get another win."

AAP


AAP




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