Bullets won't give up on NBL finals yet

Daniel Gilhooly
Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis has not written his side's chances of making the NBL finals

Brisbane's finals hopes have spiralled with a round to play in the NBL but coach Andrej Lemanis will remind his players how they snuck through the back door a year ago.

Twin defeats in the penultimate round have sent the Bullets into a three-way skirmish for the fourth and final post-season berth with New Zealand Breakers and Melbourne United.

After six straight wins, Brisbane would have all but locked down fourth place with a victory over either the Breakers on Friday or Perth on Sunday.

However, both were lost.

The results left Lemanis's fifth-placed team (14-13) needing a home win over Cairns on Saturday to have any chance of heading off the fourth-placed Breakers (14-13) and sixth-placed Melbourne (13-13).

Even a last-round victory may not be enough as the Bullets' percentage differential is inferior to their two rivals.

The situation reminded Lemanis of last year's final round, which they also entered in fifth place.

They beat the Breakers and fourth-placed Adelaide lost as the Bullets snatched the last available slot in the finals.

"Certainly, we know from last year that being ready to take your opportunities when they present themselves is important," Lemanis said.

"It's important now, the way we approach this week. We'll control what we can control and the rest of it will play out as it plays out."

Brisbane guard Jason Cadee didn't feel his team had played badly in either loss - the pivotal four-point setback in Auckland or the 13-point defeat in Perth.

He's aware a large win over the third-placed Taipans may be required and said the players will be ready for any scenario.

"I don't know if you can ignore it, obviously everyone knows where it's at," he said.

"I feel like we've played very good basketball for maybe 10 weeks now. As we've seen this weekend, you can play good basketball and still lose games."

The Breakers have timed their run to perfection, sitting in the top four for the first time this season on the back of 10 wins from their past 13.

A trouncing of the struggling South East Melbourne in Christchurch on Friday will go a long way to booking fourth place yet they could still be leapfrogged.

Melbourne would need to prevail in both their games - home to Cairns on Thursday and away to the Phoenix on Sunday - and make sure the winning margins were sizeable.