Experienced guard Rhys Martin believes the discouraging scoreline hides a number of positives to come out of the Wollongong Hawks’ opening night loss to New Zealand.
Preparing for Saturday night’s clash in Adelaide against the 36ers, Martin said there were several underlying statistics to show the NBL club could bounce back quickly.
The Hawks led 28-26 after one quarter in New Zealand, before allowing the Breakers too much latitude from the perimeter in the 19-point defeat.
However, Martin said improved performances in the paint and the rebound column will help his side against the 36ers.
‘‘The 19 points doesn’t really reflect how the game went,’’ Martin said.
‘‘Points in the paint is something we’ve struggled with and we beat them there. We only had two turnovers at half-time and we won the rebound count, which we’re notoriously bad for.
‘‘If we just shoot the ball better, we’re going to be in a much better position.’’
The Hawks won the battle down low against the Breakers, scoring 42-36 in the paint, but Martin said his side gave up too many open buckets late in the game.
‘‘We tried to take away the easy points in the paint, so we were giving up some deep three-point shots,’’ he said.
‘‘We can live with that but you can’t let guys get two and three and four open looks from the perimeter – they’re going to knock one down.
‘‘We’ve just got to make that adjustment.’’
Martin said the Hawks are well aware of the threat posed by former teammate Gary Ervin, who has returned from the Ukraine to join Adelaide this year, and will be looking to improve their offensive discipline to avoid chasing the slick 36ers down the court in defence.
‘‘Gary’s (Ervin) lightning quick and, if Gibbo (Adam Gibson) plays, he’s a good point guard and they really like to run the floor,’’ Martin said.
‘‘We need to slow them down and get them in to a half court game,’’ he said.
‘‘We like to run Xs and Os, move the ball around and get guys like Oscar [Foreman] and Larry [Davidson] open looks.
‘‘That stretches the defence and allow guys like Rotnei [Clarke], Tyson [Demos] and myself to penetrate into the key-way.
‘‘If you can six or seven guys in double figures, it makes it a lot easier.’’
A regular starter, Martin admits he’s still adjusting to his role from the bench as he and coach Gordie McLeod take a softly, softly approach following off-season knee surgery.
‘‘I’ve always kind of struggled coming off the bench,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m not much of a livewire.
‘‘I’m pretty calm and relaxed, so it’s a different thing to do.
‘‘I only played 17 minutes and I wanted to play more but that’s just how the game went.
‘‘It wasn’t really necessary [to play more] because the game was over by the fourth quarter. You can’t force it. I don’t want to blow my ACL out again.’’