New Zealand have arrived in London for Saturday’s friendly with Great Britain, minus NBA star Steven Adams.

The Oklahoma City Thunder centre has opted out of the European trip which also will see the Tall Blacks face Slovenia and Croatia in preparation for their Olympic play-off with Australia next month.

But after a brief training stint on home soil, coach Paul Henare has insisted his side mean business.
“This is a relatively new group of players, made up of a few veterans who know what it is to wear the black singlet and to play some of the best teams in the world, mixed with a few new faces who have not yet been tested at the highest level.

“The focus through these last weeks together in Auckland and Napier has been as much about the off-court work and chemistry in the group as it has about our on-court work. Our trainers are putting the guys through some tough sessions and we have already achieved plenty on court in the short time we have had together, but now is when the playbooks really start to get a bashing as we look to completely imprint the players with the style of game that we want to play.

“Every team we play will present different challenges and we know they are all going to be tough.”

Meanwhile Great Britain forward Dan Clark insists his side need to use the Kiwis as a benchmark.

With neither team fielding their NBA players, the hosts are set to name a youthful line-up on Friday morning .

“It will be a good test,” Clark said. “It’s the type of team we should aspire to be like, although we could and potentially should be better than them. But at the moment, they are the type of team we should try and aspire to be.

“They are consistently in the FIBA World Championships and their continental championship and that’s the type of team we want to be and build from there.”

Main pic: NBAE/Getty

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