Matt Knight is ready to return from a shoulder injury. Photo: Paul KanePerth Wildcats will have home court advantage for five out the final six games of its NBL campaign, starting with the Illawarra Hawks on Thursday evening.
A positive inclusion for Perth ahead of the showdown, which sees second on the ladder take on third place, will be the return of Matt Knight from a shoulder injury.
“On the sideline you could see him getting restless…We gave him some time to rest that shoulder up and hopefully this next month will be real good,” said coach Trevor Gleeson.
The 30-year-old will have some extra inspiration to perform on court, after the birth of his second child earlier this week.
“[He has] An extra bounce in his step having a little boy so we’re happy for him, he trained fully yesterday and we expect him to take his normal position in the team.”
Knight’s return will also be a chance to help limit the influence of Illawarra big man AJ Ogilvy.
“We will give him [Ogilvy] three looks, we’ve got Nate [Jawai] we’ve got Tommy [Jervis] and we’ve got Matt so we’re pretty fortunate to have the three big rotations,”
“He’s a big boy, it helps he has four shooters on the court so they can stretch the court really well and gives him operating room,” said Gleeson.
The Wildcats hold a 3-0 series lead against Illawarra, but the Hawks current form is impressive – averaging over 100 points in its past 12 games.
One reason for the high offensive numbers is former Wildcat Kevin Lisch, who comes into Thursday’s clash off the back of a 40-point game in his sides win over New Zealand on Sunday.
“We know how good he is, you don’t get MVP this league for no reason at all,” said Gleeson.
Gleeson said Thursday’s clash could play a pivotal role in where the team will finish at the end of the season.
“We’ve got some playoff teams coming,we welcome the challenge and find out where we are.”
Tip off is 6:30PM this Thursday at Perth Arena.