BASKETBALL: Adelaide coach and former Brisbane mentor Joey Wright knows how much pride and talent is usually housed in a Bullets singlet so the red-hot 36ers will be keeping their foot to the floor when they clash on Saturday night.
A month before the NBL play-offs, Adelaide is the hottest team in the league with a seven-game win streak that includes a 40-minute game era record of four games in succession with 100-plus points.
Wright has a proven track record of getting teams rolling. Last season, he took the 36ers from worst to first at the end of the regular season after a scorching run through the middle of the campaign. Under his guidance, the Bullets rode a 21-game winning streak on the way to the 2006-07 title.
Wright started his NBL coaching career in Brisbane in 2002-03 and quickly turned the club from woodenspooners to a playoff powerhouse.
Even though the Bullets are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, Wright has nothing but respect for the men in blue-and-gold heading into Saturday night's clash at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
"You always have to be wary of the Bullets and this team is no different,” Wright said.
"They shoot the ball well, they work hard and they've got talent. Serious talent.
"Anytime you have a 50/40/90 (shooting percentage) guy like Daniel Kickert and a guy like Travis Trice who is one of the better imports, they demand that respect.
"They've also got Adam Gibson who is a great leader and Perrin Buford who has an NBA player skill set so we have to be on our game.”
Wright said Adelaide had slowly but surely built a team capable of contending at the business end of the season.
"We had our share of injuries early on so we had no consistency in the line-up but we've got guys back and they have got together and played some defence,” he said.
"That gives our running game a real good chance and we've been able to execute in the halfcourt too.
"That combination of being healthy, coming together as a unit and doing the hard work has been at the heart of it.”
Wright said Boomers forward Mitch Creek, who led the fourth-quarter comeback against Brisbane in Round 8, is the key figure for the 36ers.
"He is our engine. Creeky is the energy guy, the defensive guy, the guy who gets buckets at important times. We feed off him and he's bringing everything right now,” Wright said.
In a boost for Brisbane, Daniel Kickert will return from a calf injury.
The Bullets will host the 36ers at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Saturday from 4.30pm (AEST).