The Adelaide 36ers need to win every remaining game to make the NBL playoffs after another loss

Adelaide‘s drive to the NBL finals hit a deep pothole with Tuesday night’s loss to Illawarra, but don’t tell coach Conner Henry that his side is out of the playoff fight.

The in-form Sixers were gunning for four wins on the trot heading into the clash with the Hawks, but left Wollongong with a 71-66 defeat on the back of a disjointed, turnover-laden performance.

The result leaves them in seventh spot with a 13-17 record and likely needing to win their six remaining regular season games to sneak into the top four.

“People think like ‘Oh, how many games do you guys need to win?’ We just need to win one game, keep in the hunt and see what happens,” Henry said.

“I don‘t look at the mathematical statistics (but) I know we haven’t been eliminated yet mathematically.

“We‘re in this thing – let’s go, let’s keep fighting every day.

“That‘s what we’ve been doing and I expect us to do that.”

Adelaide 36ers coach Conner Henry says his team can still make the NBL finals (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Over the four rounds leading into the Hawks‘ clash, the red-hot Sixers had been the highest scoring team in the league with 89.0 points a game while Illawarra were the lowest scoring side at 73.8 points per game.

Tony Crocker had a team-high 16 points, but Daniel Johnson (9), Brandon Paul (6), Isaac Humphries (6) and Josh Giddey (4) struggled in the face of a dogged defensive effort by Brian Goorjian‘s team.

As much as Henry is keen to rally his troops for one last push, he didn‘t spare their feelings in a scathing post-match review, pinpointing selfish play from some as a key factor in the loss.

“As tough as this is we have to somehow erase this, but we also have to learn from it,” he said.

“There was a lot of selfish play, I thought, there was a lot of ‘me’ ball.

“Some of the guys on the team need to watch this film and learn from it because they did not play well.

“I thought we were prepared so it‘s a really disappointing loss for us.”

The 36ers have the opportunity to rekindle their finals flame when they finish a three-game road trip with a clash against the Kings on Sunday.

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