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Jul 18

Defensive consistency key for Hawks

Jahii Carson says the Hawks know what they should be doing to win consistently. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHANBASKETBALL
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

Wollongong were out-scored 28-13 in the third quarter against Melbourne on Sunday — the sixth time in eight games the Hawks have lost the so-called championship quarter.

Interestingly, the two occasions the Hawks didn’t lose the third quarter were against titleholders Perth.

Disturbingly, they have been out-scored by a collective 174-116 in the third quarters of the other six games.

Head to the Hawks Nest

Wollongong fought back in the fourth period against Melbourne but the deficit was too great to overcome.

“In the fourth quarter, there’s such an urgency to try to win the game and everything picks up with our offence,” guard Jahii Carson said.

“Once we get defensive stops, that brings a lot of our energy, and we’re lacking that early on in the game. So if we can get a lot of energy on the defensive end, that will help us throughout the first three quarters because in the fourth quarter we’re pretty good.

“We all know it starts on the defensive end. Our defence helps generate our offence because we’re able to get in transition.”

Carson had a productive fourth quarter against Melbourne, scoring 15 of his team-high 25 points.

The last-placed Hawks (1-7) face the tough task of winning at least 12 of their final 20 games to claim a top four finish.

“I don’t fear any team in the league,” Carson said.

“I feel we’re good as a core and if we play to our best capabilities every night we can come out and win every night. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing …”

Ervin faces fitness fight

Slowedby a back injury last weekend, Wollongong import Gary Ervin will do everything possible to be fit for Friday night’s must-win home game against Sydney.

Ervin initially jarred his back in the round three loss to New Zealand and wasn’t sure how it would hold up in last Friday’s home game against Perth.

He lasted 11 minutes of the first half and did not return after half-time, missing his only two shots of the game.

The 180cm guard played no part in Sunday’s road clash with Melbourne and will remain on light duties this week.

‘‘I’ll do whatever it takes to get out there,’’ Ervin said.

‘‘I’m pushing for it. The physio was closed Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, so I’ll be getting physio three times a day this week.

‘‘I don’t feel it’s something that’s serious, but it keeps tightening up. The MRI didn’t show anything severe. I think it’s mostly inflammation in my lower back.’’

Ervin said he reluctantly made the call to take himself out of the game last Friday against the Wildcats.

‘‘I wasn’t close to 100per cent, but I tried it, just to try and provide that mental edge to get my team over the hump,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s annoying because I feel I could help our team out a lot. I think I’m one of the toughest guys out there, but when it’s a back injury it’s kind of difficult. It was restricting me from moving at speed and elevating and getting my shot, and it was restricting me a little on defence.

‘‘The frustrating part is that we’re just so close. I’ve been playing a great brand of basketball, and some of the stuff that’s missing in the last couple of games is what I bring to the table, so that makes it more difficult. But it’s about being smart.’’

Ervin sharply rejected suggestions the last-placed Hawks are already in danger of slipping out of finals contention.

‘‘I’ve seen a team that’s one and seven and they were able to turn it around,’’ he said.

‘‘Time is ticking and we have to get this thing on the right track, but any team is capable of getting hot in this league and putting some great games together. We have the bunch to do it, but right now we’ve got losses hanging over our head and it’s kind of like a monkey on your back. We can change all that with one win.’’

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