Bullets to juggle NBA clash with NBL hopes

The Brisbane Bullets will have one eye firmly focused on their NBL round two clash against the Cairns Taipans as they take the court in the US next weekend.

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The Bullets will back up their opening-round loss in Perth this weekend with an exhibition game against NBA side Phoenix on Saturday, as a part of the new partnership between the two leagues.

They will then return to Brisbane to host the Taipans on October 20 and will back that up with a tough schedule of games against Illawarra, New Zealand and Melbourne before the end of the month.

Thankfully, only the game against Illawarra, of the NBL contests, is away from Brisbane.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said that a lot of planning has gone in to expected management of players over this tough period.

“I’m not going to play people into the ground,” he said. “It’s a 48-minute game and Kicks (Dan Kickert) isn’t going to see 48 minutes.

“We need to be smart with load management and we have to be smart with giving people opportunities.

“We have some young guys who deserve to go and get opportunities and learn from the experience as well.

“It’s a chance to continue to work and get better as a team.

“There are things we can work on in that game that can help us when coming back against Cairns.”

The Bullets players spent no time preparing for Phoenix during the lead-up to Saturday’s clash against the Wildcats. They pushed the reigning premiers for the first three-quarters, before losing by 10 points.

Lemanis said that the challenge the club faces is representing the NBL and themselves well, but returning back home in good enough shape to tackle the schedule that faces them.

But by the time they get back, teammate Mitchell Young will hopefully be a step closer to returning to action.

The 206cm forward is suffering from glandular fever, but was this week given the all-clear to begin cardio work. He won’t travel with his team to the US, but hopes to get the all clear to start training soon.