Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson says his team will need to clamp down on Cairns sharpshooter DJ Newbill in Friday night's NBL clash at RAC Arena.
The Taipans are winless after three games, but they showed their potential by building half-time leads against Sydney, Illawarra, and Brisbane.
Imports Scott Machado and Cameron Oliver have been solid for Cairns, but it was Newbill who exploded with 26 points in Monday's 89-88 loss to the Hawks.
That performance caught the eye of Gleeson, and he has urged his players to shut down the guard.
"He was on fire," Gleeson said of Newbill, who sank five of his eight three-point attempts against the Hawks.
"He's smart, he's a really good player. He's been in the league now for three years. He's quite comfortable with the Australian style.
"He's the guy we've certainly got to mark on the court when he's out there."
The Wildcats have made a perfect 2-0 start to the season.
But they face a tricky assignment this weekend, with their match against Melbourne United in Melbourne coming just two days after taking on Cairns in Perth.
Gleeson said he wasn't thinking about taking on the star-studded United just yet.
"Any time you play a double header you just worry about game No.1, and that's Friday night," Gleeson said.
"If you happen to get some guys playing 35 minutes or it's double overtime or triple overtime, you (think about) that the next day.
"But we're certainly focused in on Friday night first, that's all we're worried about."
Gleeson was thrilled with his team's defensive effort in last week's 103-76 win over the Hawks.
It was a vast improvement from the 94-93 win over Melbourne United, and Gleeson said his team's challenge now was maintaining their consistency in defence.
Australian Associated Press