Basketball: Bullets to be smarter with use of Bairstow

Cameron Bairstow of the Bullets takes on the defence against the Adelaide 36ers. Photo / Getty Images
Cameron Bairstow of the Bullets takes on the defence against the Adelaide 36ers. Photo / Getty Images

Brisbane Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis admits he has to be "smarter" with his use of Cameron Bairstow as the Boomers star builds his match fitness ahead of his home NBL debut.

The Bullets travel to face Melbourne United on Thursday night before returning to play New Zealand Breakers at the Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre on Saturday.

Having recovered from a dislocated shoulder he suffered at the Rio Olympics, Bairstow played 27 minutes in his first NBL appearance, finishing with 19 points and seven assists in the 96-93 overtime defeat to Adelaide.

But Lemanis said he needs to resist the urge to throw his marquee recruit into the deep end because the 25-year-old requires careful physical management.

"I thought I played him too long on Sunday and ran him into the ground at times, so I've got to be smarter with that," Lemanis told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's a case of him continuing to improve on his match fitness, we'll play him in short bursts to help with that.

"I thought as expected, for someone who's been out for six weeks, the start of the game, he just took a little while to find his rhythm.

"It's hard to jump in and expect to be up to the speed of the game ... but by the second quarter he really worked his way into the game well and showed how he's going to help us in the team this year."

The defeat to the 36ers was Brisbane's first in their comeback NBL season but Lemanis is confident of an improved performance against Melbourne, who are 2-2 after four matches.

"We're disappointed with letting that one slip but credit to Adelaide - they made some plays they needed to," he said.

"But we contributed to our own demise in that game and guys have been great this week at practice just locking in and knuckling down on the specifics."

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 04 Dec 2016 17:14:32 Processing Time: 1101ms