Struggling Taipans told to loosen up
FORMER Taipan Dwayne Vale has urged the current crop to loosen up and enjoy themselves as they address their scoring concerns this season.
On Saturday the Taipans led Wollongong by 16 points before mustering just 12 in the last 15 minutes to lose 73-59. It was the third time they had failed to score more than 60 points in a season that is just eight games in.
And it is not the first time they have thrown away a good lead. In round three they had a 13-point buffer in Adelaide and a week later led the Sydney Kings by five in the final minute but lost both.
Vale played five seasons for the Taipans between 2006 and 2010, before serving as the club's community operations manager until this campaign.
"They just need to loosen up a bit, stop looking over their shoulder if they miss a shot and just have fun out there," he said.
"The support is still there; the crowds are still good. It's not panic stations yet, they shouldn't be putting that much pressure on themselves."
Vale denied their 3-5 season record, including three consecutive losses at home, was because of a personality problem and said they had shown enough to prove they could still be a dominant force.
"They are all very unselfish players and I know how hard Fearne works them, so their attitude is not the problem," he said.
"I thought their game in Sydney and also the overtime against Townsville was some of the best basketball a Taipans team has played in years," he said.
"Everyone was getting touches, it was free-flowing, there was a point of attack. But when the well goes dry you need a way to keep the scoreboard ticking over."
Low scoring and wins on the road have not been a problem confined to the Snakes, though.
Adelaide (69), Wollongong (73) and Sydney (72) all walked away with wins on the weekend despite modest totals.
Taipans coach Aaron Fearne said he could not remember a season like it.
"It'd be close to the lowest- scoring season in history," he said.
"And I think that is because of coaches junking up their defence and really locking down. Most teams, including us, are falling short of the mark when it comes to countering that."
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