The Taylor Hawks have an immediate chance to avenge their home loss to the Nelson Giants when they play the Manawatū Jets in Palmerston North tomorrow night.
Assistant coach Kaine Hokianga said Sunday evening's 85-76 defeat at Pettigrew Green Arena has given the Jets a blueprint for beating Hawke's Bay if they don't improve.
"They would have watched this game, seen some of the things we didn't do very well and I'll guess they'll try and repeat the style that Nelson put on us; slow the game down, play big, play physical," Hokianga said.
"I think we know what to expect, but it's going to be a challenge."
He said rest and recovery would be key for the Hawks in their quick turnaround following a bruising battle with the Giants.
Hawke's Bay prefer an uptempo style of play, but Nelson were able to drag the Hawks down into the trenches with them.
"They're masters at the craft of making sure the game is played the way that they wanna play it," Hokianga said.
The Hawks led 49-43 at halftime and they had a 10-point lead after the break before their offence sputtered, with the Giants holding them to just 13 and 14 points in the third and fourth quarters.
Hokianga said credit has to go to coach Mike Fitchett and the Giants for muddying things up and taking away transition opportunities, but the Hawks let their offence stagnate after halftime.
"We were relying on moving the ball round the perimeter, looking at outside shots, not really trying to shift the inside of the defence," he said.
"When we were pushing it inside, it was just one-on-one post stuff, which is not how we wanted to play the game, kinda played into their hands a little bit."
Defensive rebounding and careless turnovers were also major disappointments for the Hawks coaching staff, particularly since they are problems that have persisted through much of the season.
Hokianga said such obvious issues are at least easier things to fix than other deficiencies, but it is a worry that they keep cropping up.
It is important the Hawks turn things around in Palmerston North with a 12-day break before their next matchup – the Otago Nuggets at home on July 11.
Hokianga said Hawke's Bay need to keep their place in the top two of the National Basketball League through the end of the double round-robin with an automatic semifinal berth for the six-team playoffs on offer.
"Being in the middle of the pack, third to sixth, it's a dogfight this season," he said.
Manawatū are in ninth place with four wins from 11 games so far, the reverse of Hawke's Bay's seven from 11 record.