Hawks' new years resolution - be fearless

BASKETBALL

The Wollongong Hawks don't want their season to go down in the history books as a hard-luck story of near misses.

But unless they learn how to consistently knock opponents out when they have them on the ropes, the Hawks may ultimately look back at 2013-14 with regret.

After narrow wins over Cairns and Sydney (twice), Wollongong let a match-winning lead slip in Saturday's 74-67 road loss to Melbourne.

With four wins from 12 games, the Hawks will soon run out of chances to press for a semi-finals berth.

As he prepared for tonight's rematch with the Tigers in Wollongong, Hawks captain Oscar Forman was asked if his team had let another one get away.

"Absolutely," he said.

"We were pretty disappointed. We were up with a few minutes to go. We had it."

After scoring just 29 points in the first half of Saturday's game, Wollongong erupted with 29 points in the third quarter to take a 58-54 lead into the fourth period.

They maintained the upper hand for almost seven minutes of the final quarter before Tigers guard Chris Goulding's three-point shooting rescued his team.

"We failed to execute in the fourth quarter and made things tough for ourselves," Forman said.

"If we focus on the process of each play, rather than hurrying through to the end product, that'll go a long way to making sure we get high percentage shots.

"We watched video on how Goulding got some of his shots, and we had [defensive] breakdowns. He got hot and and we didn't have the recognition to change things up. We can't let him keep pouring the points in when he has his eye in and he's looking to shoot.

"We have to eliminate the breakdowns and make sure we don't have lapses at the offensive end."

The Hawks were out-rebounded 36-27 on Saturday and had eight assists to Melbourne's 17.

The visitors were a perfect 10/10 at the foul line but made just 7/22 from three-point range.

"It's good to play them again straight away," Forman said of the New Year's Eve rematch.

"You have a quick evaluation and tweak a few things. We've put some things in defensively with how we'll deal with them."

The Hawks (4-8) are equal last with Cairns and host league leaders Perth on Saturday.

"If we'd picked up a couple more games here and there we'd be in third spot, but we can't think about that," Forman said.

"We need to pick up a couple of wins in this period to push up to the top of that little pack.

"It's a quick turnaround for this weekend. We have to make sure the bodies are good and we stay positive.

"Getting a win against Melbourne will go a long way towards us staying positive going forward into the Perth game."

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