South East Melbourne Phoenix to bounce back after horror loss to Perth Wildcats, rematch

South East Melbourne Phoenix must be prepared to make a physical stand in its Sunday rematch with Perth Wildcats or risk being smacked in the mouth again, coach Simon Mitchell says.

The Phoenix fell apart in the face of a strong arm display from the Wildcats, surrendering a 31-point margin on their home floor.

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It left Mitchell lamenting a “timid” performance from his charges, but also eyeing a bounce back in the weekend rematch.

Flashback to round five last season and the Phoenix travelled to Perth, only to be hammered by the same margin — 31 points.

“Last year we got a smack in the mouth over in Perth early in the season and then we flew back and beat Adelaide,” Mitchell said.

“We’ve shown that we do have the ability (to bounce back).

“We know we’ve got these guys again who are going to line up to beat us in the mouth again.

“It needs to be a physical stand. It needs to be an attitude and it needs to be a statement from us that we’re not going down like that.”

Mitchell said the fledgling club had eroded the credit it had built up last Sunday when it knocked off previously undefeated Illawarra.

“We’re a young franchise trying to earn respect in the NBL and whatever respect we may have conjured form the win over Illawarra I think is straight out the door and we’ve started back from scratch now where we are fighting, kicking and screaming and we’ve got to go back to basics,” Mitchell said.

Bench sparkplug Kyle Adnam, who was the game-high scorer with 24 points, said the team was “hurt” and each player had to look internally to bounce back.

“It comes down to personal pride and pride as a group,” Adnam said.

“We haven’t been able to string two wins together yet.

“I thought we lacked that and we’ve got to find that edge that we played with in Perth (when they defeated the Wildcats).”

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