Boomers break brings NBL uncertainty

Perth coach Trevor Gleeson is concerned about the impact of an international break on his side.
Perth coach Trevor Gleeson is concerned about the impact of an international break on his side.

Perth coach Trevor Gleeson concedes that a top-two NBL finish is now unlikely after the Wildcats' two-point loss to the Cairns Taipans.

And while he comes to terms with trying to win another championship from the bottom half of the top four, Gleeson is also contemplating the challenges that a week off before the play-offs brings.

The home and away fixtures conclude next week but the start of the finals will be delayed by a week to accommodate the Boomers' World Cup qualifiers in Melbourne.

Gleeson hinted at wanting to manage some of his players' workloads in Round 19, with games against Melbourne (away) and Cairns (home) in the space of three days.

While mathematically, wins in both games could still see the Cats finish in the top two, a loss would not jeopardise their place in the finals.

Gleeson says the forced break needs to be considered.

"It's really unknown because the week after is a week off with the Boomers," he said.

"It's a funny period. Four teams finish next week then a week off, so you have two weeks until your next game.

"I have never experienced that before, so I don't know how we'll get through it.

"It's probably good for us; we have a little bit older bodies."

The Wildcats have some challenges to overcome if they want to win a third consecutive title as slow starts continue to hurt them.

In their 10 matches this year the Wildcats have been behind at halftime in eight. Of those, they have gone on to lose six.

Gleeson said they have been working hard to buck the trend, but clearly they are not finding the answers consistently enough.

"Obviously we have (been trying something different) with different starting rotations," he said. "It really is a mindset. We came in today to put pressure on a top two position - we come in and give up 26 points in the first quarter and shooting 65 per cent in the first quarter," he said.

"Is that desire on the defensive end? We're supposed to be a defensive team and when you're being selective, that's what happens."

"We have to do something to fix up not playing 40 minutes of basketball, that's my major concern.

"If we're not playing 40 minutes, it's gonna be a short play-off for us, because that's where you get found out."

Australian Associated Press