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Playoff Game 1 Preview - Hawks v United

07 Mar
2 mins read
The Final Four is set, and your Illawarra Hawks will open the NBL24 Playoffs tonight against Melbourne United at John Cain Arena.

On Monday night, the Hawks won their way into the Playoff rounds with a thrilling three-point home victory over the New Zealand Breakers.

Justin Robinson, Sam Froling and William' Davo' Hickey led from the front and sent the near-capacity crowd at WIN Entertainment Centre into raptures with an 88-85 win.

Robinson scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, including an impressive 14-14 from the free throw line, with Froling the best big man on the floor behind a 21-point and nine-rebound performance.

Justin Tatum inserted Hickey into the starting line-up, and his energy and effort were infectious. The Hawks' Mr. Fix It was everywhere, and his job on the glass and making possessions difficult for Breaker’s star Parker Jackson-Cartwright drew the praise of his teammates, coaches, and fans alike.

The Hawks fear no one on the road and will look to ride the momentum of the Play-In game into JCA tonight.

Tatum knows the challenge before the Hawks and is confident he has the game plan to deliver victory in enemy territory.

"They are a United team, they have multiple guys, we just can't pick one, we have to make it difficult for everybody," he said.

"I can't pinpoint one person. We did a pretty good job against the bigs last time we played them, then [Matthew] Dellavedova made a couple of threes, [Chris] Goulding made a couple of threes, but we were right there.

"If we adopt a similar strategy and make fewer mistakes, we'll be in a good spot."

Opposition Watch

Melbourne's prize for securing the minor premiership? An 18-day wait to open their NBL24 final campaign.

United have won their past seven games at John Cain Arena, including a 92-87 win against the Hawks to close the regular season.

Dean Vickerman's side will look to Chris Goulding and Jo Lual-Acuil Jr to set the tone offensively, with the defensive-minded Dellavedova and Shae Ili set to challenge the Hawks' backcourt of Harvey and Robinson.

United enter the Playoffs as the number one seed and will look to protect their home floor before heading to Wollongong on Sunday afternoon for game two.

Where To Watch

Catch the action from 7:30pm AEDT Live on ESPN via Kayo and 10Play.

Hawks Watch Party

Why not join the watch party at Hotel Illawarra, 160-164 Keira St, Wollongong, from 7:30 pm AEDT.

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