WATCHING Casper Ware miss a crucial lay-up against Perth last week, my first thought was ‘oh no’.
No I’m not a closet United fan, I just knew what it meant for us when we head to Melbourne this week.
You can bet Ware is going to be on a mission. They had a chance to win that game and he’d be kicking himself.
He’s a hell of a player and players like that are always harder on themselves than anyone else. He’s going to come out on Wednesday night and say to his team ‘this one’s on me’.
It’s how great players respond to moments like that. It’s put us on red alert because he wants to come out and kick our arse. When he’s got that mindset he can take over games and win them on his own.
We certainly need to be aware of that but I think we can take some confidence out of the way have handled him at important times this season – Jordair Jett in particular.
We’ve seen Kevin White get under his skin as well and that’s been our mindset of late. We’ve had a big focus on being proactive, getting on the front foot and throwing the first punch.
We need to have that bully the bully mentality. When we play like that we can beat any team in the league. We have. We need to do the same against Melbourne.
I think what we’ve seen with United this season is that it’s so much harder to stay at the top than it is to get there. They’ve got an incredible roster, they’ve got all the resources, they’ve got everything they need to be successful. That comes with pressure – internal and external.
We’re one of the lower resourced teams so there’s no expectation on us to beat them. It’s like a free hit every time. Every time we play a Melbourne or a Perth or a Sydney there’s a lot more external pressure on them than us.
It’s so difficult when you’ve won a championship because you’re the hunted. We’re the hunters and we’ve got to embrace that and use it to our advantage.
We’ve been written off so that lets us play with a little bit more freedom and we’re feeling really, really confident. In the last month I truly believed we’ve played the best basketball we’ve produced all year.
You want to peak towards the end of the season and we’ve shown, four games in a row, that we can be very, very good. We’re on an upward trajectory and that playoffs race has really been thrown wide open.
When you looked at the way Perth started the season 10-1, who would have thought they’d lose eight of 10? What it’s made everyone realise is that those teams aren’t safe.
Those top four teams have won enough games to put themselves in the best position get there but it’s well within reach for us. We’re near enough if good enough.