Tough. That’s the word co-captain Oscar Forman used to describe his sides loss to Perth on Wednesday night in Wollongong. The 12-point margin now sees Illawarra faced with three must win games, down 2-0 in the best of five NBL grand final series.
With another short turn around, Forman spoke to hawks media before departing for Perth, saying as hard as it was in the rooms after the game, his side has moved on quickly from the loss and is primed to go on Sunday
“We’re done; we’ve done that (moved on),” said Forman. “We need to realise the game wasn’t all doom and gloom. We controlled the game for the majority of it.
“Losing a home game is emotionally destroying, it buoys them and now their focus is on winning in three.
“The equation is still the same, win three and we’re good.”
Illawarra went through its review of the game on Thursday, addressing what needs to change if they are to continue their quest for a second championship.
Forman said the team took a lot out of the session, recognising the second half on Wednesday wasn’t them, with not enough shots being taken.
“Its black and white, when we’re not playing well it’s stagnant. We dribble it too much; we try and rely on one person.
“When we play well it’s our defence that spurs us, it’s our defence that creates our offence.
“We’re not having enough shots; we need to make it a higher scoring game. We can’t go over there and score 65-points. It’s not exciting, it’s not who we are and we’re going to lose.
“We need to make it high scoring, with as close to 80 shots as we can get. Like all season, really pile points on the board and make them chase us.”
Centre AJ Ogilvy, who was the stand out Hawk on the stat sheet on Wednesday (21 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals), reiterated Forman’s words, adding that the side became too cautious in the key latter parts of the contest.
“I think what it resulted from was we missed a lot of shots,” Ogilvy continued.
“That made us a bit more tentative and then that kind of spiralled out of control on the offensive end.
“Defensively we just didn’t play up the court and pressure them like we were in the first half, so that’s definitely going to be a focus of ours going into the third game.”
“I think if we can come out and play like we did in the first half, we’ll give ourselves a chance.
“It’s very much in our hands and I think as long as we come out and play with the intensity and tenacity that we did in the first half in Wollongong, we’ll be in with a shot.”
Ogilvy appeared to be moving smoothly after he sent a scare through the Hawks camp in Adelaide. He openly admitted he still isn’t 100% physically, but is where he needs to be to challenge for a championship.
“Mentally I’m good, I’m not 100% yet (physically) but getting close enough.
“I think it’s going to take a bit of time for my ankle to get back to where I’d like it to be, but it’s good enough to play on and that’s all I can really ask for.”
Game 3 of the 2016/17 NBL grand final series is being played this Sunday. Tip off is 3pm AEDT. Tune in to Fox Sports, NBL.TV and hawks social pages for all the action.
By line: Jarrod McGrouther