Melbourne United coach Dean Vickerman says pre-season matches against NBA opposition have held the NBL team in good stead despite taking an initial toll.
United played Sacramento Kings and the LA Clippers in California in pre-season, but also dealt with some early injuries, losing their first three NBL games.
Since then, last season's runners-up have reeled off four wins on the bounce to leap to fourth on the table.
"The extra two games and the travel was always going to take its little bit of a toll on everyone," Vickerman said on Tuesday.
"But the experience of going and playing NBA teams and the knowledge that we gained about ourselves - about how close we are to being elite in the world were the experiences that you want."
United have also benefited from the recent return of star Casey Prather from knee surgery.
"It was a tough schedule early on and a lot of injuries, so again we're still just trying to get this team healthy and we've finally got our full roster," Vickerman said.
"Casey was still on restricted minutes and hopefully we'll continue to build his minutes as time goes along ... but they're growing as a group and getting better."
Import Melo Trimble emphasised the unity of the squad as a key reason for United's turnaround.
"I just feel like the energy in the locker room and on the court was always positive," he said.
"There never was pointing the finger at someone else and we went in the film - we all got the same energy of our mistakes and we got onto it and were able to move on."
United will face South East Melbourne Phoenix for the third time on Saturday, with the local rivals securing one win apiece from their opening two encounters.
"We're four in a row right now and we want to make it five," Trimble said.
Australian Associated Press