IT’S been Illawarra’s perennial achilles heel but Hawks big man Delvon Johnson says there’s a “simple” solution to his side’s rebounding woes.
Inconsistency on the glass has been a major headache for coach Rob Beveridge and will likely be at the forefront of his mind as the Hawks prepare to host in-form Melbourne United on Saturday.
Melbourne centre Josh Boone is the NBL’s reigning king of the boards, averaging 10 a game to go with 13 points, and produced his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and 17 rebounds in United’s hammering of Sydney on Monday.
It topped the 15 points and 14 rebounds he managed in Melbourne’s home win over the Hawks a fortnight ago, a night United dominated 51-28 on the glass.
The hosts’ stat-line included 15 offensive rebounds that saw the Hawks give up 26 second-chance points in an 18-point defeat.
They were without their two leading rebounders AJ Ogilvy and Demetrius Conger – who both average six rebounds a game – but Johnson said the onus was on the entire roster to attack the boards.
“Rebounding’s definitely something we’ve been looking at, we’ve all got to get in there and help each other out,” Johnson said.
“We can’t just rely on the bigs, everyone’s got to get in there and get after the ball. It’s simple, it’s just about wanting to get it. That’s it.
“If the other teams wants it more they’re going to get it and we haven’t been wanting it lately so that’s got to change. It really hurts you when you play good defence and then give up offensive rebounds.
“For me I take [playing against Boone] as a challenge. It makes me want to rebound and get in there and be physical. I like to be physical and I’m definitely looking forward to that challenge again.”
The Hawks will be looking to avoid consecutive defeats on their home floor having suffered an eight-point defeat to Perth last Sunday.
Johnson said his side will need to tighten up on the defensive after giving up too many easy buckets against the Wildcats.
“Offensively we were scoring but, defensively, we had a lot of breakdowns,” he said.
“The way we want to play, the defence starts our offence. We’re going to score but we need those extra possessions from our defence to score those points and get the pace of the game up.
“It’s been a problem for us but I feel if we can get that right then we’ll be the team we really want to be.”