MELBOURNE -- Star import John Roberson has credited his coaches and teammates for his record breaking start to the season, one which has seen the Phoenix quickly become Melbourne's top team.
Along with Melbourne United centre Shawn Long, Roberson leads the league in points scored (21 per game) and has actually set a new NBL record for the most three pointers made by a player through their first five games (26). The Phoenix import says he is hopeful of continuing his blistering form when his side takes on cross-town rival United on Saturday night.
Roberson will go head-to-head with United guard Melo Trimble -- the league's third most productive scorer -- for the second time this season in what will be Throwdown II. Roberson is expecting a very different contest to Round 1 where the Phoenix rattled United early before holding on for their maiden win.
"We're gonna have to be locked in for 40 minutes and try to disrupt them on the defensive end to take things away." Roberson said. "I feel like I'm a little bit hot at the moment. I wish this could be my average but I'm just taking what the defense gives me and trying to be aggressive"
"My teammates and the coaching staff have given me the confidence to go out there and be aggressive so I'm going to do that every time, and so far, so good."
In a league with a smaller pool of teams such as the NBL, sides have time to get in the film room and figure out defensive strategies quickly, but Roberson has faith in the Phoenix system and that they can continue their winning ways.
"We're playing great teams with great coaches so they're going to try and take that away from us but we're ready. We have plan B, plan C that we can go to if they take things away so we're prepared."
Fans can expect a shootout once again with four of the five top scorers in the NBL lining up on Saturday night, but defense will be the key, with both sides leaking more than 93 points per game so far this season. While both teams can clearly score at will, if either Trimble or Roberson can lock up their opponent, their team will have a significant upper hand.
"[Trimble] is tough," said Roberson. "In the first game I got in foul trouble so I'm going to have to do a better job of staying out of foul trouble and containing him but we have a great game plan so we're going to need to execute and take things away."
United star Trimble, who won the league's scoring title last year, has continued his hot shooting, but is very aware of the defensive task ahead of him and is using Perth's demolition of the Phoenix last weekend for inspiration.
"We saw how ready Perth was and how physical they were, we want to put that into our game plan also," said Trimble. "Defence is the main thing, not just (Roberson) but other players like Kyle Adnam and Mitch Creek."
Trimble talked down United's surprisingly poor start to the season, expecting United to bounce back after an intensive couple of days watching film and putting in extra reps at practice.
"We have the mentality to bounce back, we know we're right there," he said. "It's still early in the season and we're focused on us, we're not too worried about what people are saying about us.
The 24-year-old also admitted that United may have got ahead of themselves in Round 1, but will come prepared this time.
"We'll just follow our game plan, they (Phoenix) got out ahead of us in the first game," he said. "They came out with a lot of confidence and we came out thinking we were gonna win that game and then they came out and took it from us."