Hawks must control power under boards

BASKETBALL

They talked the talk all week about the need to become beasts under the boards.

Tomorrow, the Wollongong Hawks must walk the walk in their must-win home game against a talent-laden Adelaide.

Bashed and bullied under the glass all season, the Hawks have pulled down more rebounds than their opponents just three times in 19 games.

When it comes to rebounds, the Sixers dominated the Hawks in two previous clashes, 86 to 66.

"The boards have been an issue for us all year long," forward Dave Gruber said.

"We all need to do our part and get some boards - guards swooping, big guys taking care of the heavy stuff inside.

"Slowing them down in transition and rebounding are key in this game. If we can do those things, we'll give ourselves a great chance. But we need to do it consistently for four quarters."

Gruber knows he will have to be at his defensive best against 36ers centre Daniel Johnson.

"DJ is a confident guy, he's always had a really good skill set and he's finishing well at the moment," he said.

"We need to disrupt him and try to make him a bit uncomfortable.

"They're coming on our home court so we need to take care of business and make a push for the finals."

The Sixers are second with a 13-6 record.

"We're playing as good as anybody in the league right now," coach Joey Wright said.

"You always like to be a couple wins better, but we can beat any team and we've shown we can lose to any team. So we're right there with everybody else."

Despite having the seventh-placed Hawks' measure in two previous meetings, Wright said they have to be respected.

"The second time we played them, they didn't have Larry [Davidson]; they're a totally different team without Larry," he said.

"[Rotnei] Clarke's probably gotten a lot more attention because people understand how good he is."

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