Bullets coach gives troops both barrels
BRISBANE Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis has read his team the riot act ahead of a 'Doomsday Double' weekend in the NBL.
Lemanis stopped training at Carina on Wednesday and delivered an old fashioned spray to his players, demanding they lift their intensity and standards with Brisbane set to play the top two teams in the competition in the space of three days.
The Bullets host reigning champion Perth on Friday night at Boondall before taking on the league-leading New Zealand in Auckland on Sunday with the Breakers riding an eight-game winning streak.
It is a true acid test for the sixth-placed Brisbane (3-4) as perennial powerhouses New Zealand (8-1) and Perth (5-3) have won the last eight NBL championships between them and are poised to be in the title conversation yet again.
New Zealand beat Perth twice last weekend in high-quality clashes that were on a different level to the rest of the competition and they both enjoy good recent records against Brisbane.
Lemanis said the high training standards last week resulted in the gutsy win over Cairns and he was not accepting any step backwards.
"When you play Perth, in particular, they beat you if you turn it over and if you let them get offensive rebounds and I thought there was a period there when we were just really sloppy with the ball,'' Lemanis said.
"That's going to come back and bite us on Friday night if we play like that so it's about setting standards.
"My coaching style is you need to pick and choose your moments. If you continually just yell at people, no one really responds to that and no one does well in that environment.
"In terms of setting standards … generally, this group does react well (to selective sprays).
"If players appreciate that you care for them and you want the best for them, then they will accept some coaching methods. If they don't think you care about them, no matter what you do, you are not going to get a response.''
Lemanis said the closeness of the competition from last season had spilt over into this campaign and ladder positions were not always an accurate way to predict results.
"It's about coming out and playing well. We've got a game plan that can put us in good stead,'' he said.
"Ultimately, it's about controlling the rebounding scenarios (and preventing turnovers).
"At the end of the day what gives you confidence is that they are effort areas.''
Guard Adam Gibson (calf) has missed the past two games and did not train but Lemanis hopes the 2012 Olympian will be available for the match-up with the Wildcats.