'Stress-free' Bullets aim for NBL finals

Murray Wenzel
Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis has asked his to team stay relaxed as the NBL finals beckon

A six-game winning streak has Brisbane on the brink of securing an NBL finals berth but the "stress-free" club won't be distracted by the numbers when they meet the league's hottest team on Friday night.

New Zealand (13-13) have won an NBL-best nine of their last 12 games to sit fifth and remain a post-season shot if they beat the Bullets (14-11) this weekend.

Brisbane can snuff out those hopes and all but lock in a finals berth with a win, but coach Andrej Lemanis has implored his side to "continue to play without stress and not get lost in the white noise" of finals calculations.

The Bullets have won eight of their last 12 while third-placed Cairns have also won eight from nine to turn the post-season machinations on its head in the back half of the season.

Melbourne United (12-13), courtesy of a three-game winning streak to close their season, could still pip Brisbane for fourth on percentage if the Bullets win on Friday but lose their last two.

Lemanis isn't doing the sums though, confident his side's new-found confidence will carry them into the playoffs regardless.

"It's (the finals equation) been bubbling around in the background for a while now," he said.

"It's good to play these sorts of games; you want to play in games that matter because it's the competition of it all that we all enjoy.

"But don't get lost in everything that surrounds the game, because it brings the stress and one of the things we've done well over the last couple of months is play without stress."

Brisbane's offensive rebounding and shooting improvements have been key to their resurgence, with the Bullets the first team since the Sydney Kings in 1996 to shoot at 52 per cent or better from the field in five straight games earlier this season.

"I remember sitting in a few press conferences earlier this season and saying that I though we played the right way but just missed some shots," Lemanis said.

"(I thought) if we kept playing that way, generating those looks, that the historical averages of our group would suggest we're going to start making some shots and I guess that's proving to be true."