Kings defeat United on the way to fifth straight victory
This article is shared from the Official Sydney Kings website www.sydneykings.com
Written by Matt McQuade for Kings Media
Result: Sydney Kings 111 Melbourne United 101
Trending in the right direction: Deshon Taylor had his best game for the club with an efficient 12 points off the bench and played excellent defence.
The Sydney Kings left no doubt who is the current top dog in the NBL with an overpowering 111-101 win over Melbourne United on Sunday afternoon at Qudos Bank Arena.
In a game where several franchise records for a 40-minute game were smashed, the purple and gold dominated for more than three periods against a fellow championship contender, before the visitors saved some late face to make the final margin closer than the game really was.
Despite playing without Craig Moller, who was rested due to a minor foot complaint he picked up during the week, new recruit Xavier Cooks yet to make his debut and Sydney captain Kevin Lisch still to come back into the team from injury, the Kings showed no mercy in going to 11-1 on the season and continuing their brilliant start to NBL20.
Sydney broke their 40-minute franchise marks for points in the first half (65), points at the end of the third quarter (96) and, despite scoring just 15 points in the final period, the team scored the most points ever for the Kings in a 40-minute non-overtime game.
It was a devastating performance at both ends of the floor built on a relentless attack on the rim, particularly in a first quarter assault where the team scored all their field goals inside the paint and went to the free throw line a staggering 19 times, converting 17 in an effort that belied their status coming into Round Nine as the competition’s worst team from the charity stripe.
“That’s a focus of our program – I think we shoot more shots at the rim than anyone in the league,” Head Coach Will Weaver said afterwards.
“Our guys have bought into sharing it and understanding that if you don’t have something great, kick it to a teammate and give them a chance.”
“I felt like that’s the best game of the year we’ve had working to create shots for our teammates, and even though we didn’t shoot it great, there’s just so many good things that come from that, like obviously getting to the foul line.”
“Ultimately, our offence is about space and unselfish play, and trusting our teammates are going to work hard for us the way we need to work hard for them, and I thought our guys did a fantastic job of that, especially early on, but really throughout – just a few shots didn’t fall.”
Sydney put the hammer down midway through the second period, turning an eight-point lead into a 15-point advantage at half-time, capped by an audacious triple from the brilliant Casper Ware that banked off the window as time expired to send the Kings to the rooms up 65-50.
At that point, Melbourne’s defence had no answers to Sydney’s attack on the hoop, with United called for a whopping 17 first half fouls and the Kings knocking down 22 of 24 shots from the charity stripe in the opening twenty minutes.
Melo Trimble (32 points, four assists, two steals), ignited an early 10-3 run for Melbourne in the third quarter, but Sydney responded through the magnificent Ware, who had five quick points to restore the double-figure margin.
Sydney kept pouring it on. Andrew Bogut had a power jam, Deshon Taylor knocked down a long-range bomb and Brad Newley attacked with venom to push the lead out to as much as 22 points with Melbourne showing little defensive resistance.
Trimble and Chris Goulding (18 points, three rebounds) produced six straight points for United in a short space of time, but it was only a brief respite to the Sydney onslaught, with Ware knocking down another triple and Didi Louzada closing the scoring to give the Kings a 96-78 lead with a quarter to play.
And then it was time for Jae’Sean Tate to once again be Sydney’s man in the fourth quarter. Already unstoppable with 17 points through three periods, Tate monstered the Melbourne defence in a stunning three-minute burst with eight points just to illustrate the Kings’ overwhelming dominance, and when Louzada splashed a triple, the lead was 24 and the result was all but confirmed.
Shawn Long (13 points) fouled out early in the fourth quarter and was sent on his way with some pointed words from Mr Bogut, and with the Kings in total control, both teams ran their benches extensively in the final five minutes. Sydney development players Lochlan Hutchison and Hunter-Jack Madden even got some burn, and while Melbourne’s reserves showed some heart and energy in reducing the final margin to just 10 points, this game was all about the Kings from start to finish.
Ware led the Kings with 27 points and five assists in a superb display, but game MVP honours went to the irrepressible Tate, who finished with 25 points on eight of ten shooting from the field and eight of nine free throws, adding six rebounds and two assists. Newley added 14 points and Taylor had a solid game with 12 points off the bench.
The Kings extended their league-leading winning streak to five games and they have an opportunity next week to set an all-time franchise-best start to an NBL season with two wins in what shapes as a tough away/home double.
Sydney will next travel to Perth for a Friday night confrontation with the Perth Wildcats and the formidable Red Army at RAC Arena, before heading back to Sydney for a game against the resurgent Cairns Taipans at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon. Tickets are on sale for the clash against the Taipans – which will be a double-header with the Sydney Uni Flames of the WNBL – and are available HERE.
* Shared content from www.sydneykings.com.au Website