Hot Tiggs can take heat off Clarke

BASKETBALL

If there is one player likely to reap the benefits of Hawks swingman Kevin Tiggs’ hot-form, it’s fellow import Rotnei Clarke.

Often the target of increased defensive pressure, Clarke’s bullseye shooting has entrenched him as the Hawks’ core scorer so far this campaign.

But with Tiggs averaging just over 20 points per game in the new year, the scoring burden has recently been eased off his shoulders down the stretch.

‘‘It is going to be important for him to continue to do that,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘It takes the pressure off the other guys. It takes the pressure off myself and Ozzie [Forman] and guys who we really rely on to hit shots and score.

‘‘The more that he can do, the better for the team, I think.’’

Tiggs caused all kinds of trouble in the post for Cairns in their two-match duel with the Hawks and Clarke believes it’s a problem that will continue to plague opposing teams.

‘‘They are going to have to make decisions in the post probably for teams in the future,’’ Clarke said

‘‘They are going to want to double him just because it is tough to contain him one-on-one especially when he gets down there in the post.

‘‘He has a knack for finishing. He is a little awkward and you don’t know what he is going to do.

‘‘I definitely assume teams are going to start doubling him and throwing some different things at him so that will open up other guys as well.’’

Clarke was unable to take full advantage during Tiggs’ season-best 27-point display against the Taipans, shooting just 5/15 from the field.

Nevertheless, the Hawks’ leading scorer was confident he could turn it around tomorrow in New Zealand.

‘‘You are going to have games that you don’t hit shots that you normally would hit sometimes,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘I am just going to continue to put in extra work and get my shots, and have faith that it is going in the next game.’’

New Zealand took down the Hawks in both early season encounters, but will head into tomorrow’s stoush after a 25-point loss to the Wildcats.

‘‘It is definitely going to be a challenge going to their place where they play really well in their building,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘We got beat there last time we went, and got beat when they came here so we are 0-2 in the little series we have with them so we definitely need a win and they need a win too.

‘‘It will be two desperate teams.’’

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