NYE showdown: Tigers to threaten Hawks

BASKETBALL

The Wollongong Hawks won't take the under-achieving Melbourne Tigers for granted in tonight's New Year's Eve showdown at WIN Entertainment Centre.

Guided by rookie coach Chris Anstey, the talented Tigers have rarely fired on all cylinders, winning just three of 11 games.

Former import Kevin Braswell was sacked after five games, but his high-profile successor - ex-NBA guard Jonny Flynn - has sparked Melbourne to just two wins from six matches.

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Anstey believes his side can still finish in the top four but realises they need to start winning.

The second-placed Hawks have lost three of their past four games and won't be taking the visitors lightly.

"If you go by how they look on paper, that should be the best team in the league," Wollongong guard Adris Deleon said.

"It wasn't no walk in the park when we played them in Melbourne. It was a dogfight and we had to wear them down and take the game in the last few minutes.

"That's what we have to be prepared for again and we just have to execute the right way."

Deleon was a standout when the Hawks beat the Tigers by eight in the previous meeting, tallying 18 points, five assists and five rebounds.

He hasn't been anywhere near as effective over the past four games and knows he has a tough battle against Flynn.

"Their whole offence runs around their point guard, but if we focus too much on him somebody else can hurt you," Deleon said.

"[Chris] Goulding can play real good if you let him, so we can't give him a lot of open looks.

"When we beat them in Melbourne, we contained the point guard, we rebounded well and we ran our offence, and we did it real good in the fourth quarter.

"If we do those things well [tonight] we should be good.

"We have to go out and show people and other teams what type of team we are. Are we going to stay where we're at or are we going to keep going up and improving? This game is going to show everybody," Deleon said.

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