Perth Wildcats big man Jesse Wagstaff has flagged the club's final two home games as crucial to its chances of securing a top-two spot and launching another NBL Championship assault.
Currently sitting equal with Townsville on 14 wins, but having played two more games, Wagstaff said the Wildcats must beat Cairns at home on Sunday and Gold Coast the following week to maintain pressure before a pivotal away date with the Crocs in North Queensland on March 18.
"I think top two is still a possibility. Townsville are playing good basketball but we play them once (more) so we can gain a game on them," Wagstaff said. "We've got to take care of business because nothing is guaranteed."
Suiting up for the fourth time since returning from an ankle injury which forced him out for seven weeks, Wagstaff said he was still regaining full fitness but felt fresh heading into the business end of the campaign.
He said the team expected a physical approach from Cairns on Sunday but would resist deviating from their game plan.
"If we play our style of game, then things should take care of themselves," Wagstaff said. "Probably try to boost our defensive pressure. A lot of our offensive scoring comes from defensive pressure. If we can get some stops and get out and run that would be good for us."
The Cats will sweat on the fitness of power forward Jeremiah Trueman, who missed practice today, after the 23-year-old injured a right calf muscle last week.
Trueman will need to pass a fitness test to play on Sunday while guard Brad Robbins and forward Cameron Tovey, who both sat out today's practice, are expected to play.
The latest Player betting market for the NBL Championship has New Zealand firm favourites at $1.65 while Townsville has firmed from $6.80 last week into $4.80. The Wildcats remain third favourite at $5.50.