NBL23: South East Melbourne Phoenix v Melbourne United news and result from the Throwdown

Simon Mitchell was filthy with his team’s meagre performance against bitter cross-town rival Melbourne United 13 days ago.

He slammed South East Melbourne’s effort as “absolute trash” after it surrendered 110 points — the highest total of any team this season — in a 25-point defeat.

But, after a second-straight loss on Thursday night, this time to Perth, Mitchell did things a little differently post-game and believes the penny has dropped ahead of Saturday’s rematch with United.

The Jekyll and Hyde Phoenix were lacklustre for the majority of the Wildcats clash, before thumping in 37 points in the fourth quarter — one point off a franchise record — to almost pinch an unlikely victory.

“I usually don’t address the players after the game but there were some things I wanted to talk about and there was a real penny-dropping moment,” Mitchell said.

“That last quarter revealed what we can be if we buy in to getting up the floor and creating a little bit of havoc.

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“It was a bunch of blokes in the room wanting to talk it out — It was unanimous that this is the way we’ve got to go about it, this is what we’ve been built for.

“From a season aspect, we’ve got to get back on track, we’ve dropped two in a row, we’ve been below standards so this is as big as any of the non-playoff Throwdowns have been.”

Mitchell revealed Zhou Qi, who flew back into Melbourne on Thursday after joining the Chinese national team in Iran, is battling a small tear in the soleus muscle in his calf.

Mitchell said it can be a difficult injury to manage, after Qi was initially ruled out for three weeks.

One man who relished his first Throwdown was Phoenix import Alan Williams, who pummelled United inside with a 30-point, 14-rebound double-double.

He wants revenge for the loss.

“Any time you get a chance to play a Throwdown it’s a big deal,” Williams said.

“They’ve had our number the past couple of games. Now it’s an opportunity for us to get back in front of the best fans in the NBL. It’s our home court to protect.”

United is set to unveil new import Marcus Lee, giving coach Dean Vickerman another option to throw at Williams, but concussed talisman Shea Ili has been ruled out for several weeks after he suffered another knock in practice.

Following Thursday night’s loss to Adelaide, Vickerman wants a similar response from his charges to their 50-point turnaround the last time they met Phoenix. United was smoked by Cairns by 25, midweek, before backing up with a 25-point win.

“Every time so far this year where we’ve dropped one and had a big game coming up, we’ve turned up,” Vickerman said.

“That’s what I expect from our group again, at home — even though not being our home game — that this group will turn up and go ahead and get the win.”

***SEM Phoenix v Melbourne United

Saturday, 5.30pm @ John Cain Arena

Watch on Kayo, ESPN

Originally published as NBL23: South East Melbourne Phoenix v Melbourne United news and result from the Throwdown

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