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How Hawks plan to stop 'PJC'

04 Mar
2 mins read

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Written by AAP

Sam Froling believes stopping New Zealand Breakers guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright is the key to preventing Illawarra from falling victim to a second big-man masterclass this NBL finals series.

The Hawks lost their NBL Seeding Qualifier against Tasmania on Wednesday night, so they have been relegated to a sudden-death Play-In clash with the Breakers, who they will host on Monday.

Illawarra were slow starters in their first post-season game and could not reel in the JackJumpers once centre Will Magnay got going.

Magnay grabbed all the headlines with a career-high 25 points to go with his 10 rebounds.

But Froling said his fellow centre was only able to have his way with the Hawks thanks to the service he received from guards Milton Doyle and Jordon Crawford: Magnay was the man who scored from eight of Doyle's 10 assists on Wednesday.

That lesson will be top of the Hawks' minds as they look to neutralise Breakers big men Mangok Mathiang and Zylan Cheatham on Monday.

"A lot of it is about shutting down their guards," Froling told AAP.

"For us, it'll be keeping PJC (Jackson-Cartwright) outside the paint so he can't just dump it off to 'Mango' and Cheatham and let them get going. 

"Have them make plays, instead of him making the plays."

However, stopping Jackson-Cartwright will be easier said than done.

Fresh from being selected in the All-NBL First Team, the American scored an NBL career-high 34 points during the elimination Play-In defeat of Sydney that booked the Breakers a date with the Hawks.

The Kings struggled for answers against Jackson-Cartwright, but Illawarra's plan will involve getting on the front foot around the perimeter.

"It starts with individual defence, but it's building a wall for him, making it really hard for him to get inside the paint," Froling said.

"He's super effective once he gets in there with his mid-range (shooting) and finishing around the rim."

The winner of Monday's game will advance to a best-of-three Play-Off Series against Melbourne United.

Had they won on Wednesday night, the Hawks' grand final qualifying series would have instead been against the Perth Wildcats, against whom they hold a 3-0 record this season.

"We're not lingering on that," Froling said.

"There's no regrets, we learn from the (Tasmania) game, move on and get ready for New Zealand."

Gary Clark, crowned most valuable player at the club's awards night, is expected to line up against the Breakers after tweaking his ankle in the loss to Tasmania.


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