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Hawks break four-game NBL losing streak

AAP logoAAP 28/10/2016 Tim Keeble

The Illawarra Hawks' hectic schedule left no time for post-match celebrations after Friday night's pressure-relieving 81-76 home win over reigning NBL champions Perth.No sooner had the Hawks broken a four-game losing skid with victory over the injury-depleted Wildcats than their attention had shifted to Sunday night's home clash with Cairns.The Taipans lost their opening three games of the season before Thursday's 83-76 defeat of Melbourne United.The Hawks will be playing their fourth game in nine days on Sunday."We've got less than 48 hours to get the bodies right and get ourselves mentally ready for another very tough game," said Illawarra coach Rob Beveridge.Illawarra had slipped to 1-4 with Monday's thrashing from Sydney and Beveridge publicly questioned his team's toughness.He held private meetings with every player on Wednesday and believes they responded."We had a soft underbelly against Sydney and they tore us apart, and we addressed that this week with a lot of home truths," he said."I'll never shy away from telling the truth and I think that's what these guys appreciate."Illawarra's performance on Friday wasn't their usual free-flowing, high-scoring approach - and Beveridge reckons that's precisely what his team needed."It showed we can grind those kinds of wins out," he said."Sure we want to play up-tempo and shoot lots of threes and get lots of points, but if we ever get to a playoff situation it's going to be a physical grind, so that's good progress for us. It showed we're evolving as a group."The Wildcats had won four straight before losing to Illawarra.Missing through injury were captain Damian Martin and his playmaking understudy Jarrod Kenny, leaving the Cats relying on untested rookies in the backcourt.Perth's preparation was also disrupted by the changing of imports for the second time in a fortnight."You can make all the excuses in the world but we're not going to do it," Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson said."We played hard and the endeavour was there but we had soft turnovers and silly fouls."

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