Phoenix to fight in NBL's Melbourne derby

Daniel Gilhooly
Coach Simon Mitchell says the Phoenix will give it their all against Melbourne United

South East Melbourne Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell has delivered the fiery words the NZ Breakers wanted to hear ahead of an NBL season-defining Melbourne derby.

The fourth and final play-off berth will be decided in Sunday's showdown between the Phoenix and Melbourne United, the last game of the regular season.

United simply need to win to set up a semi-final series against the Sydney Kings.

If the Phoenix can conjure an upset in front of their home fans, it will almost certainly leave the Breakers in fourth place.

Mitchell's men have lost their last seven games in a forgettable finish to their inaugural season but, even without injured star Mitch Creek, they'll prepare to throw everything into the derby.

A wound-up Mitchell responded in biting fashion when asked if his team could deliver the Breakers the result they need.

"I don't give a s..t about the Breakers. I'm not here to do them any favours. Bugger them, I don't care. We're going to go worry about ourselves and we're going to give our best against Melbourne," Mitchell said.

"We're going to have to get the bruises out, galvanise, and like every game, we'll go hard and take it at them. We need a little luck, a break to go our way. It's been a while."

Breakers coach Dan Shamir said he and his players will adopt a mindset of getting ready to face the Kings.

He backs the Phoenix to push a Melbourne United side who have unearthed their mojo at the right time, having hammered finals-bound Cairns by 16 points on Thursday.

The Kiwi club have been among the best performers in the second half of the season, winning 11 of their last 14 games.

Star swingman Scotty Hopson, who delivered a game-high 23 points against South East Melbourne, said it would be disappointing to fall short of the finals on percentage after their mid-campaign turnaround.

Hopson believed they would be a force in the play-offs if they get there.

"I think we can win a lot of games, I'd put us up against anybody."