Finals the target for improving Hawks
The Illawarra Hawks currently sit ninth on the NBL ladder, but star import Justin Robinson says a finals berth is still the goal for last season’s bottom side.
Robinson and the Hawks split their Round 5 fixtures against Cairns and Melbourne. A Tyler Harvey game-winner saw them earn a one-point win against the Taipans, before they fell to Melbourne by 12 points.
“We’re making progress,” Robinson said. “It’s a long season and we still have 75 pr cent of it left and we’re trying to get better day by day.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, we’re making positive strides and hopefully the ball will bounce our way.
“No one likes losing. We’ve lost some I think we could have won or should have won, but last year we won three games and we’ve got two already.
“It’s a tall task for us to mount ourselves to and the playoff goal is what we want, but we’ve got to take the little steps first and win those games.
"We’re taking steps forward and I think we want to play our best basketball at the middle and end of the year and kind of learn throughout."
Illawarra’s rivalry with the Sydney Kings will be renewed this weekend, when the Hawks host their noisy neighbours at the WIN Entertainment Centre on Friday night.
The teams last met in Round 1 where the Kings ran out as 15-point winners, largely off the back of a stellar shooting performance from the bench by Sydney forward Kouat Noi and a deadly efficient night from now injured wing Jaylin Galloway.
Robinson says Noi’s breakout performance in Round 1 means it’s unfair to label any individual King as a ‘danger man’.
“They’re well-rounded, they’re like every other team in the league,” he said. “… it’s looking up and down the scouting report and knowing who’s who, no matter what the timing of it is.
“They have anybody who can go off on any given night. That’s who they have so we have to say focused throughout.
“It’s a fine line in this league, it’s hard to win no matter what team you’re playing and the idea of playing for 40 minutes rather than 33 or 30 is a big thing to what we need to learn how to do and get better at.
“We’re making strides towards it, we’ve been watching film about it and we’ve been talking individually and collectively. That’s our goal.”
The Hawks host the Kings on Friday, November 3 at 7:30pm AEDT.