NEWCASTLE Hunters coach Anthony Foy wants his team to be more resilient in their Waratah Basketball League men's game against Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre on Saturday.
The Hunters knocked Manly out in the semi-finals last year on their way to securing the championship but will start as underdogs in this game after starting their title defence with five straight losses.
Manly, whose line-up includes Illawarra Hawks National Basketball League captain Kevin White, have a 4-2 win-loss record to be sitting third behind unbeaten Central Coast (5-0) and Norths (5-1).
Newcastle only trailed Central Coast 51-49 at half-time last week but were blown away in the second half to lose 92-62, and were in a similar position against Maitland the previous week when they led by 17 points early on but lost 87-65.
"This is a tough league and we have to play tough, physical teams every week. Manly are an experienced group, and they have an NBL player in Kevin White, so we know what to expect from them," Foy said.
"We have shown we can compete against any team for quarters and for halves, and in most games we have been competitive for most of the game, but we have lapses that hurt us.
"We need to be more resilient during the down times in games and show better composure in the key moments to give ourselves a better chance of achieving the results we want to achieve."
Foy will again reinforce the need for his players to be more competitive on the boards and keep turnovers to a minimum.
Newcastle hope to have guard Hayden Howell back in the line-up after he has missed the first five games while recovering from illness. Howell played an important role in their championship-winning 2018 team and will give the Hunters another ball-handler and scoring threat.
Meanwhile, Hunters captain Jaimee Seebohm will assume the role of player-coach for the women's game against Manly on Saturday.
Fresh from her 19-point, 14-rebound, 10-assist triple double in Newcastle's 104-43 demolition of Central Coast last Saturday, Seebohm will cover for the absence of her husband, Shannon, who is on the Gold Coast at a training camp as a member of the Australian Opals' coaching staff.
Assistant coach Lesa Mason is also unavailable as she is in Townsville as assistant coach of the NSW Country under-18 women's team competing at the Australian Championships.
The unbeaten Hunters (5-0) will start favourites to notch a sixth straight win against seventh-placed Manly (2-4), whose only wins have been against Maitland and Central Coast. Former Newcastle junior Emily Clulow is playing for Manly this season.
AAP reports: The Cleveland Cavaliers will continue to rebuild with a new coach, with incumbent Larry Drew's run over after one NBA season.
The team parted ways Thursday with Drew, who took over as the Cavs coach in October and led the club to 19 wins amid a swarm of injuries in Cleveland's first season since LeBron James left as a free agent.
The Cavs tied for the NBA's second-worst record, but Drew earned praise for keeping his team competitive despite a young roster and only having All-Star forward Kevin Love for 22 games because of injuries.
Drew took over when Tyronn Lue was fired in October following a 0-6 start. The 61-year-old had been with the Cavs since 2016, when he was brought to Cleveland by Lue, and the team duly won the NBA title.
"He brought professionalism, class and steady leadership both this past season and prior four years," general manager Koby Altman said.
The Memphis Grizzlies are also looking for a new mentor, with controlling owner Robert Pera firing coach JB Bickerstaff as part of a front-office shake-up that demoted general manager Chris Wallace to scout.
After a 12-5 start, Memphis plummeted and finished 33-49, tied with New Orleans and Dallas and outside the play-off positions.
The Sacramento Kings, meanwhile, fired coach Dave Joerger despite helping the team to its best record in 13 seasons (39-43) in 2018-19. Sacramento last made the NBA play-offs in 2006 under Rick Adelman.
Joerger was the ninth coach since Adelman was fired in 2006.