The 36ers can arrive back in Adelaide from a critical three-game road trip with the finals-bound momentum of a runaway freight train or looking to salvage some positives for their next NBL campaign.
Their fate remains in their hands after Tuesday night’s 92-76 win over the last-placed Taipans at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
But the margin for error remains wafer thin with eight regular season games left to play.
Conner Henry’s men are feeling good about themselves after beating up the Bullets and Cairns at home to improve to a 12-16 record, two wins back from the Kings and Phoenix in third and fourth respectively.
But with eight of their wins coming on their home court this season, they must become road warriors to stay in the fight.
Pivotal clashes against the Kings in Sydney on the 9th and 16th bookend a tough match-up against the fifth-placed Hawks in Wollongong on Tuesday, May 11.
Brandon Paul was huge for the 36ers against the Bullets. Picture: Kelly Barnes/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“We know the situations we’re in – they’re all a one-game (finals) series,” Henry said.
“We need to win our games at home and then we need to go out on the road and play some very tough teams who are above us that are also in that mix to try to get that third or fourth spot.
“We know the challenge ahead of us.
“The group likes to play, they like to work … we just have to maintain this focus.
“The league and us – everybody – has been up and down this year, but we’re just trying to inch forward and see where we can get to.”
Import guard Brandon Paul led the way with 18 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Cairns, but Isaac Humphries struggled with just four pints in his second start back from an 11-game injury lay-off.
Henry remains confident his star centre will have a big say in how the team’s season plays out.
“He got in foul trouble … but we’re still in a process to get his stamina back up,” the coach said.
“He’s getting fatigued at times, but he’ll show glimpses of being able to finish around the rim at that elite level that he showed earlier in the season.
“Some of it’s timing, some of it’s fatigue, some of it’s getting back into our system that has changed a little bit.
“He got frustrated but I just told him that it’s part of the game and let’s get a couple of good days of work in and get ready for Sydney.”
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