Jacob Jackomas has put his under-performing stars on notice ahead of the Illawarra Hawks clash against the Cairns Taipans in Wollongong next Thursday.
The Hawks coach expressed his disappointment after Illawarra slumped to their third straight loss when beaten 101-91 by Melbourne United at WIN Entertainment Centre last Friday night.
The Hawks return to the WEC on Thursday night to face the Taipans before heading to Melbourne to play United on Sunday afternoon.
While Jackomas expected it would take time for his new-look Hawks squad to gel, he was tired of losing and called on his team to improve, especially on the defensive end.
"We're not in a bad spot as such but it's gloomy," the coach said after the United loss.
"Maybe some of it is residual from last year, maybe it is the fact that we've lost a couple in a row, especially at home.
"We don't want to play catch-up all the time. The lucky thing is we do have depth and some guys are going to rise to this thing and some guys aren't.
"If guys drop off they are going to make my life a lot easier by making the rotations a little bit tighter."
The 1-4 Hawks sit last on the ladder and have the worst defensive record in the NBL but Jackomas believes his team has the tools to turn things around.
"We just have these patches against really good basketball teams that let us down," he said.
"The turnover count is down, we won the rebounding count and the shots weren't disgusting [against Melbourne United}. It's just some little things that are letting us down at the moment.
"The thing is those little things are primarily with our defence. We're giving away too many easy points which puts extra pressure on our offence.
"We scored 91 points against a good defensive team but we gave up 101.
"You can win a basketball game if you guard well. It's a pretty simple game plan but it is probably the hardest thing to pick yourself up from the mat and hear that.
"Everyone wants the big answers but there is no complicating this game right now.
"We've got offensive talent but we've got to make sure that we keep that score really below 90 to win basketball games in this league."
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