US import says his focus must be on the Bullets
BULLETS star Travis Trice says the clash with the Phoenix Suns in the US this Saturday is not about putting his name up in lights in front of NBA scouts.
For the lightning-quick import point guard, it is all about giving Brisbane the best chance of shining on the big stage.
Trice was Brisbane's standout in the 96-86 loss to Perth on Saturday night when he collected 23 points, five rebounds and three assists.
He was the leading scorer for Michigan State in their run to the NCAA Final Four in 2015 and will lead the charge for the Bullets, being no stranger to the big occasion.
Trice said his personal NBA aspirations will take a back seat for the 48 minutes at the 18,400-capacity Talking Stick Resort Arena on Saturday.
"That (impressing NBA scouts) is second for me. I'm all about trying to go over there and trying to get a win, it's all about the team," Trice said.
"If we do the right things and play the right way, everybody will look good. That's my main focus.
"I wouldn't be a competitor if I said we were going to lose. You approach every game the same, you want to go in and win and that's our mindset."
Melbourne import Casper Ware did his reputation no harm against OKC on Monday when he went toe-to-toe with Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook.
"I'm happy for him. Any time you see a guy that you played against, to see them doing well, you are happy for them," Trice - who was icing his foot after training at Carina - said.
"But I'm just going out and trying to win."
The Phoenix back-court of Devin Booker and Eric Bledsoe are dynamic scorers so Trice will need to knuckle down defensively as well as be the offensive spark for the Bullets.
Brisbane leave today and will have business class seats for the 18 hour journey as opposed to the cramped cattle class conditions for the trip to Perth.
Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said beating Phoenix would mean nothing if Brisbane came home and lost their home game to Cairns on October 20.
He said both Sydney and Melbourne had given the Bullets a guide on how to compete with NBA talent as well as highlighting the NBL's growing global stature.
"What I liked about the way United did it, they got after them, they got scrappy, they were disruptive and all that stuff that is NBL basketball and they didn't go away from those things just because they were playing an NBA team," he said.
"It's great the quality of the league is recognised ... our teams are pretty good.
"Everybody holds the NBA up at this level, rightfully so, but hopefully this allows the fans to appreciate how good NBL basketball actually is."
He said slowing down the Phoenix offence and crashing the boards were the top two priorities for the Bullets.