The Perth Wildcats will look to an unlikely source of inspiration in an attempt to dig their way out of a post-Christmas form slump.
Coach Trevor Gleeson wants his players to take a leaf out of rock legend Bruce Springsteen’s books in tomorrow night’s top-of-the-table clash with rivals Adelaide at Perth Arena.
The inner-city venue has not been a happy hunting ground of late for the Wildcats, who have lost their past two games at home and are in danger of losing three straight for the first time since September-October 2005.
But it was a different story last week for Springsteen, who wowed crowds at three sold-out gigs at the Arena.
More than 42,000 fans flocked to see the 64-year-old in action.
“We want to be like Bruce Springsteen; come in here and put a great performance on for the crowd,” Gleeson said.
“We don’t think we’ve done that the last couple of times here at the Arena.”
The Wildcats tore the NBL apart in the first half of the season, storming to the top of the ladder with a 12-1 record.
But since their Christmas break they have stumbled to a 4-5 record and left the door open for second-placed Adelaide in the race top spot and home court advantage for the play-offs.
Gleeson admitted complacency had got the better of his players during their form slump and took them through an extended review of last week’s shock loss to last-placed Townsville.
“Our complacency really set in after Christmas,” Gleeson said.
“We got out of that slump playing Melbourne Tigers (round 16) away, then last week (against Townsville) we took a backwards step.
“This is where things heat up. We’ve got a great run into the play-offs and now is the time.”
Wildcats centre Matt Knight will miss another week due to concussion, but guard Drake U’u will play against Adelaide despite copping an accidental whack in the eye from teammate Jermaine Beal at training.
Adelaide’s BJ Anthony is expected to return from an ankle injury, while Jason Cadee will be better for his run last week after overcoming a broken finger.
Former Wildcats guard Rhys Carter will mark his return for the 36ers on his old home court after receiving his clearance from the Swedish Basketball Federation.
Carter replaced import Jarrid Frye on the Adelaide roster this week.
The teams will be playing for the Cattalini Cup, named in honour of Wildcats and 36ers championship winner Martin Cattalini, with the game MVP to receive the Paul Rogers Medal.