Hawks on a roll with defence


The Wollongong Hawks are one of the NBL's hottest teams.

No, that's not a misprint.

Wollongong have won three of their past four games to be sharing fifth spot with Townsville.

The only other team with a winning record in that span is league-leading Perth, who have won four straight after losing to Adelaide in round seven.

"Perth are out in front but they've had their issues in games, but they've been good enough to make plays when they've needed to and got over the line," Hawks coach Gordie McLeod said.

Wollongong chalked up their fourth win of the season on Saturday night against Sydney.

American forward Sam Young led the Kings with 28 points, but Sydney are struggling without a recognised point guard.

"The chemistry changes ... they're like every other team finding their way," McLeod said.

"They've been one of the better teams so far, so being able to sneak a couple against them is great for us."

Despite a poor shooting night as a team (37 per cent), the Hawks relied on aggressive defence to overcome the Kings.

"The last few weeks we've been able to do some stuff with our defence and that takes pressure off our offence," McLeod said.

"We're not a team that can knock 100, so we need something to stay in it."

Coach Shane Heal made a big call to sign former NBA player Sam Young a month ago.

The Kings were 5-3 at the time, but point guard Jesse Sanders was subbed out for Young.

Since Young arrived, Sydney have copped a 43-point mauling from Perth, defeated Melbourne on the road and lost twice to Wollongong.

Good as Young is, the Kings aren't functioning as smoothly without a genuine playmaker.

The Kings are still saying Young can only help them.

"We brought Sam Young in and a lot of people just thought things would fall into place straight away, but they under-estimate how good the NBL is," Sydney guard James Harvey said.

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