Melbourne United star Casper Ware has laughed off suggestions Sydney Kings have the mental edge ahead of their hotly-anticipated NBL semi-finals showdown.
Melbourne will enjoy home court advantage in the best-of-three series starting on February 28 with the winner to face either Perth Wildcats or Brisbane Bullets for the title.
The defending champions will come up against a supercharged Sydney side led by Andrew Bogut, who was on Sunday night crowned the league's Most Valuable Player, as well as former MVPs Jerome Randle and Kevin Lisch.
Expectations are high in the harbour city for a roster that has been hailed as one of the strongest in the league's history.
Bogut's team had endured 10 successive losses to Melbourne before finally snapping the streak with a 97-85 victory at Qudos Bank Arena earlier this month.
But point guard Ware, who finished runner-up to Bogut in the MVP count, said the result will count for nothing in the heat of the playoffs.
"Hopefully they do get a little high on that," Ware said.
"If they want to think they've got our number, that's fine.
"It's a different season now. We beat them 3-1 during the regular season but we're not thinking about that right now. It's a whole different thing during the finals."
Speaking at the NBL's finals launch in Melbourne, Bogut said stopping Ware from getting to the rim would be a key to victory.
"We know that whenever they need a bucket, that's usually the guy the ball's going to - if not him then Chris Goulding," Bogut said.
"We've got to be prepared for that and have some things to try and get the ball out of his hands. We know if we can stymie his scoring, it'll help us win that series."
A relaxed Ware said his team had plenty of scoring options with David Barlow, Mitch McCarron and DJ Kennedy also capable of making clutch shots.
"It could go to Barlow, it could go to Mitch," he said.
"We've got so many weapons, you just don't know who it's going to go to.
"That's what I love about this team - it's not just me, it's not just Chris. We've got like or four five guys that can do it."
Australian Associated Press