'It's do or die time right know."
This comment shows Illawarra Hawks interim coach Justin Tatum is not one for downplaying how big a weekend it is for his team.
Tatum is acutely aware that the Hawks' destiny is in their own hands, with a win in New Zealand over the Breakers on Friday night followed by victory away to the Sydney Kings on Sunday, just about guaranteeing Illawarra a spot in the NBL playoffs.
Playing in the post-season seemed highly unlikely when Tatum took over from the sacked Jacob Jackomas, who had guided the Hawks to only two wins from nine outings.
Since then the Hawks have thrived under the leadership of Tatum, winning 10 of their 15 games, with many good judges, including Illawarra star man Gary Clark nominating the father of NBA superstar Jayson Tatum, as a genuine coach of the year candidate.
While Tatum appreciates this he knows the Hawks still have to shatter the dreams of a couple of more teams, namely the Breakers and Kings, to be able to achieve Illawarra's own goals of playing in the NBL finals.
"We're here to spoil teams' dreams and spoil hopes and knock teams out of the playoffs if we can because we want to be there ourselves," he said.
A third win over the Breakers in as many attempts will improve Illawarra's win/loss record to 13-12 and put the fourth-placed Hawks in the box-seat to finish in the top-six and play in the post-season.
The desperate New Zealand need to win three of their remaining four games to have any chance of making the playoffs.
They head into the Hawks clash riding high after a brilliant road win in Perth but will be without the services of gun import Anthony Lamb, who suffered a suspected Achilles tear in the victory over the Wildcats.
Tatum is expecting to encounter a fired-up Breakers' outfit in New Zealand.
"We were fortunate enough to get away and get a win against them at home a couple of weeks ago but we know going there it's going to be pretty tough as well," he said.
"But I think we're locked in, we're focused, we have an understanding of what to do to beat them.
"We tightened up some things today that worked for them against us and some things that work for us against them.
"We're just in a different mindset and we love playing on the road, so I think we give ourselves a good chance."
Tatum conceded the withdrawal of injured star Lamb would hurt New Zealand.
"We never want to see anybody hurt. We always love to play with the team when they're full throttle. It's , unfortunate because he's a big piece of their puzzle," he said.
"Hopefully he recovers quickly but at the end of the day we got to go plan as he is there. I understand they are one man short but we got to stay focused on what's our task."
A recent NBL survey revealed that the Breakers were the team most wished to avoid playing should they make the finals.
This view was shared by Tatum.
"They're a tough team," he said.
"They are one of the teams that I fear us matching up against every time that we play them because they match up so well with us even when they have guys coming off the bench with the success that they have.
"But we're also a bad match-up for them as well and it just kind of depends on who makes the wrong mistake or who makes the most consistent things that make their team better.......that's how you got to deal with the Breakers.
"They're well-coached, they've been in the finals before and they're trying to get back there and they got the equipment to do it so we just got to find a way to match that and exploit what we can and win the game."
The big weekend for the Hawks also includes a fourth outing this season against the Kings.
A win in Sydney on Sunday will level the Freeway Series at 2-2 and more importantly go a long way to securing post-season action for the Hawks.
"That's another tough environment we have to go in," Tatum said.
"The Kings are going to be ready and play hard because they still got a chance to make it to the playoffs if they get a win against us but we're here to spoil teams' dreams and hopes and knock teams out of the playoffs if we can because we want to be there ourselves.
'We know that even if we lose to New Zealand we still have an opportunity to make the playoffs so we go t to give the Kings everything we got."