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Hawks score easy win over Bullets in NBL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/02/2017

The Illawarra Hawks have put on a shooting clinic to demolish the Brisbane Bullets 106-79 and clinch a spot in the NBL playoffs.

The Hawks had the game wrapped up with a 30-point half-time lead and showed no mercy to the wooden spooners in the second half on Saturday night at the WIN Entertainment Centre.

Illawarra's 35-year-old forward Oscar Forman stole the show with a team-high 26 points, and equalling his career-high of eight three-point shots.

Centre AJ Ogilvy (22 points) and American guard Rotnei Clarke (24) also starred in the win.

Illawarra finished the regular season with a 15-13 record and will finish second, third or fourth, depending on results of tonight's and tomorrow's remaining games.

Cairns (14-13) take on minor premiers Adelaide tonight, while Melbourne United (13-14) host reigning champions Perth (14-13) tomorrow.

The Bullets briefly put up a fight before the Hawks asserted themselves all over the court and soared to a 33-18 quarter-time lead, and the margin swelled to 20 midway through the second period.

Forman made four three-point shots and had 17 points by half-time, while Clarke and Ogilvy had 14 apiece, as Illawarra took an almost unassailable 64-34 lead into the third quarter.

Torrey Craig was the only Bullets player to offer much resistance in the first half, working hard for his 18 points and seven rebounds.

The margin never slipped under 25 in the second half, assuring the Hawks of their second straight finals appearance under coach Rob Beveridge.

"This was a danger game, no question," Hawks coach Rob Beveridge said.

"It's amazing because our preparation this week was really poor. We had two guys off sick and Rotnei Clarke's wife had a baby.

"For Oscar to put on that performance was amazing.

"There was a fair bit of pressure and I was really proud of the way the guys handled themselves.

"We don't know who we're going to play next week in the playoffs, but they're all tough and we respect them all."

Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis kept the loss for his injury-hit side in perspective.

"I'm more about assessing us as an organisation and the season we've had, and how we build from here," Lemanis said.

"We had our issues this year trying to find our way through some stuff, but the support and vibe for the Bullets in the Brisbane community is overwhelming.

"Although things haven't worked out the way we wanted them to, it's important to not lose sight of some of the good things we've done."

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