Hawks can run with anyone: Conger

SHARP-SHOOTER: NBL MVP candidate Demitrius Conger has shot at 68 per cent from three-point range in the Hawks last three wins. Picture: AAP
SHARP-SHOOTER: NBL MVP candidate Demitrius Conger has shot at 68 per cent from three-point range in the Hawks last three wins. Picture: AAP

ILLAWARRA star Demitrius Conger is confident the Hawks can run and gun with any team as they prepare for what’s set to be an explosive offensive showdown with Melbourne on Saturday.

In three straight wins, the Hawks have made an impressive return to the high octane offence that powered them to last year’s championship series.

They produced back-to-back 100-plus scores in victories over Cairns and Brisbane last round – and racked up 96 in their previous win over Perth – to average 102 points in their past three outings.

United also moved past the 100-point mark in their 24-point victory over cellar-dwellers Sydney last week, making Saturday’s match-up a clash between the NBL’s two hottest offensive outfits.

Conger said the visitors are welcome to bring a high tempo to Wollongong.

“I have confidence in our team that we can run and gun with the best of them,” Conger said.

“[Against Melbourne] it’s going to come down to who’s making shots and who’s going to do the little things.

“You’re not going to make every shot so it’s about who’s going to get all the rebounds, who’s going to get up the most shots, who’s playing defence. That’s what gets you wins.”

The Hawks three wins in a row followed close losses to Perth and United, and Conger says his side have only made subtle changes to go to the next level.

“We were in both those games, they weren’t runaway games, it was those little things,” he said.

“When the games are close you start to look at all the small things you could’ve done better, free-throws, things like that.

“When you figure out what’s going wrong or what the pattern is you can go about fixing it and I think we’re at that point where we’re figuring out what works for us and sticking with that.

“I think we’re just hitting our stride, and hitting a good place. We’re at the point of the season where every game matters, whether it’s Melbourne or the Denver Nuggets it doesn’t matter. 

“Everyone’s really bunched up in the standings at the moment so we’ve got to play our best every night.”

Conger has arguably been the form player of the NBL over the past four rounds, where’s he’s led the league in scoring with 23.8 points a game at 61 per cent from the field.

He’s also averaged five rebounds and four assists, but it’s his sharpness from the perimeter that’s proven the surprise ace up his sleeve.

The St Bonaventure alum has shot 11-16 threes in his past three games at 68 per cent as rivals continue to give him long-range shots.

“Sometimes it’s been borderline disrespectful but I’m just adjusting to how teams are playing me,” Conger said.

“A lot of teams have been playing off [me] kind of daring me to shoot and it’s not like I have one arm. I’ve always been able to shoot, it just comes back to what the defence gives me.

“If they play up on me, I’ll go around them, if they play off me I’ll shoot it. It’s simple, I don’t make the game complicated.”


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