Snakes' ladder goal to rock Crocs
SETTING Reptile Rumble matters straight remains just as important to Cairns Taipans ace Jamar Wilson as keeping his team's play-off hopes alive.
The Taipans (7-14) sit three wins behind Melbourne (10-11), Wollongong (10-13) and Sydney (10-13), who occupy third through fifth on the NBL ladder, and just one behind the Townsville Crocodiles (8-14).
As the Taipans and Crocs clash for the fourth time this season tomorrow, the derby game takes on added significance for both teams, with the play-off hopes of the losing North Queensland team almost certainly extinguished.
Wilson sought the advice of his father after the Snakes' double-overtime loss to the Crocs a fortnight ago. His dad provided great advice, that "nothing is over until the fat lady sings".
But with slim hopes, Wilson said they were just as determined to claim the series against the Crocs 3-1 and claim bragging rights with seven games remaining.
"It is a Townsville game and it is a derby game, and it is a big game for both teams," Wilson said.
"Besides all the accolades and the finals run, it is really a pride thing.
"We also want to get the split over them and they want to get the split over ustoo."
The 28-year-old was held to just five points in the first three quarters of the last derby, before carrying his team with 18 points in his final 14 minutes on court.
He said he expected to come in for some close attention from the Crocs players following that explosive ending. However, the players are aware and had been preparing for it.
"I think that teams have been trying to make us beat them without me having the ball in my hands, making other players make decisions, but we've been practising on that," Wilson said.
"I think the guys have just been doing a good job playing together and finding ways to get people open."
Wilson said they had a rest day cancelled on Tuesday, with some aggressive training to try to toughen up the players as a team.
Townsville Crocodiles point guard Mitch Norton said they would again be wary of Wilson's explosiveness, in what could be a turning point for the Crocs hopes of making play-offs.
"It's always a massive rivalry but it's more than that for us right now, it's our whole season," Norton said.
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Top gun: Taipan talisman Jamar Wilson tries to make something happen during last Saturday's loss to the 36ers.