The Perth Wildcats are prepared for anything Townsville's new-look line-up throws at them in tomorrow's game, according to coach Rob Beveridge.
New Crocodiles imports Gary Ervin and Larry Abney will make their NBL returns at the Townsville Entertainment Centre after being cleared to play yesterday, adding much-needed firepower to a team that was comfortably beaten by Cairns in round one.
The American duo answered late calls from coach Paul Woolpert to replace compatriots Curtis Withers and Jason Forte, who were sensationally sacked on the eve of the season.
The Wildcats swept their series against the Crocs last season, winning all four games by a combined total of 96 points, and are in top form following last week's rout of reigning champions New Zealand on their home court.
But Beveridge is taking nothing for granted. He knows Ervin, the 2011 NBL MVP winner with Wollongong, and former All-NBL first-teamer Abney are not to be underestimated.
"They are two very good players and they've got a lot of pride. They'll come in and want to prove themselves," Beveridge said.
"But either way, Townsville can be very dangerous. It's their first home game. We've had the wood on them over the last couple of years and they've got a lot to prove."
Beveridge was pleased with last week's 93-72 result that saw the Wildcats firm in championship bet- ting, but has spent the past few days ironing out the kinks in his team's performance.
"You hate to be negative but we showed a lot of the mistakes that we made (against New Zealand)," he said. "We were sloppy in different areas and didn't take care of the ball. There's no way we're letting our players off the hook and getting ahead of ourselves."
Wildcats guard Kevin Lisch will join elite company when he suits up against Townsville, becoming the first import in 15 years to play 100 consecutive games for the same club from his NBL debut.
The reigning league MVP will be just the ninth restricted player to achieve that feat and the first since dynamic North Melbourne guard Daryl McDonald managed 130 straight games from his debut with the Giants in 1994.
Townsville holds fond memories for Lisch, who announced his NBL arrival as a 22-year-old rookie with a three-pointer on the final buzzer to beat the Crocs in 2009.
· The West Coast Waves notched their first win of the season with comfortable 78-70 win over Sydney University Flames at the WA Basketball centre.
Deanna Smith top scored with 23 points.
They are two very good players and they've got a lot of pride. They'll … want to prove themselves." Rob Beveridge