Long will face his most difficult match-up in the league – former NBA star Andrew Bogut – but he’s confident he will be able to handle whatever the Kings throw at him.
“That’s just how we train, we prepare for anything,” Long said.
“In practice the guys have been making me work and showing me some different schemes so I think I’ll be alright either way, no matter what they throw at me.”
Long said some tactical changes have made him feel more “free” to play his game.
“There is a higher sense of urgency now and we feel we haven’t played up to our potential,” Long said.
“That’s a let down for us all as competitors, so I think we are finally on the right track but we have another big one coming up Monday and we have to capitalise on this momentum we have.
“This week was really big, we switched up a lot of schemes that let me be aggressive at both ends, so I’m happy about it and hopefully I can keep helping us win.”
Melbourne played veteran forward David Barlow off the bench on Saturday night due to him battling a sinus infection, which has restricted his training for the past two weeks, while big man Jo Lual Acuil also played despite spending much of last week in hospital with family members.
Trimble and Shea Ili put on an excellent defensive performance against Phoenix star John Roberson on Saturday and United coach Dean Vickerman will likely deploy them to Ware, although they are conscious of Bogut’s passing causing them trouble if they focus too much on Ware.
“Bogut is a different guy as a passer so if you overplay too much then he will punish you with his passing,” Vickerman said.
“We have to create a scheme that limits Casper’s catches and when Bogut has the basketball we have to know how aggressive we play on him and how far off we play from him.”
Melbourne United play Sydney Kings at Melbourne Arena on Monday at 7.30pm.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.