Ignore festive distractions, Hawks warned

BASKETBALL 

Hawks skipper Oscar Forman has warned his side not to let the festive season distract them from this weekend's double header with Melbourne.

The Hawks are keen to capitalise on their first back-to-back victories of the season by extending their winning run in consecutive matches against the Tigers and Forman urged his side not to let their focus waver.

"A lot of this Christmas period is tough because your focus does shift around a lot," Forman said.

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"Playing so close to Christmas you're not going to be with each other throughout so you need to stay strong and make sure that when you are at work you're working hard and you're working smart on the right things.

"We've had a couple of days off so that's good to freshen the mind and the body but we need to make sure we get back to work."

The Hawks kick off their two-game series with the Tigers in Melbourne on Friday ahead of a return clash in Wollongong on New Year's Eve.

Forman said it was important that his side didn't look past game one at The Cage.

"Every game is vital," he said. "You drop a game here you can slide, you pick one up and the table's so close everyone moves so much with every win and every loss."

Forman said the Hawks would look to implement the same offensive blueprint that worked so effectively against the Kings.

"We need to firstly worry about our own game, what we're doing when we've got the ball, and making sure we can put points on the board," he said.

"With Sydney I really felt we outsmarted them.

"We showed that if we stick to our game plan for the whole game it works out over the whole game."

The Tigers are also coming into the twin matches on the back of two wins with star guard Chris Goulding leading the league in scoring at 23.6 points a game.

Forward Mark Worthington also managed 18 points and 11 rebounds in the Tigers last-start victory over Townsville and Forman said a team defensive effort would be vital to containing both players.

"Worthington and Goulding are the ones who really go to work," he said.

"Defensively, like we did with Sydney, we have to make sure we can help out our bigs on the post, and help out our guards when they're guarding the premier guards like Goulding on the perimeter.

"You're not going to take away all his shots, you've just got make his shots as difficult as possible, take away his open looks, take away his easy drives.

"I think he gets a lot of stuff when he's driving to the basket and that really gets him going.

"We need to look at where we can drop off helping where we can and force the ball away from their strengths.

"They try and get it out of Rotnei's [Clarke] hands, so we need to try and get it out of Goulding's hands," the skipper said.

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