Sydney Kings Beat NZ Breakers in final game to win NBL Title
The Sydney Kings have defended their NBL title by defeating the New Zealand Breakers 77-69 in the fifth and final game of the championship series at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena.
In front of the largest NBL crowd in history – 18,124 – NBA-bound forward Xavier Cooks had his best game of the series to help the Kings fight back from 12 points down in the first half.
With this victory they have now won back-to-back titles in Chase Buford’s first two seasons as coach despite significant roster changes in the off-season.
“The Sydney Kings are deserving winners of the NBL23 title according to former South East Melbourne Phoenix head coach Simon Mitchell, who says the back-to-back champions have “set the standard” over the course of NBL23.”
Sydney Kings NBL Twitter image
“The Kings topped the ladder for almost the entirety of the regular season, and despite being forced into a three-game Playoff Series against Cairns and a five-game Championship Series against New Zealand, they weathered the storm to earn the fifth title in their history.
“They’ve had the most consistency with their line-up,” Mitchell told RSN. “They’ve had the most consistency on the floor, they’ve had moments of greatness on the road, they’ve been pretty strong at home and have held the top position for the majority of the season.”
“I think they’ve certainly been the benchmark of the league … they’re the standard on the floor at the moment and have set an exceptional standard off the floor for everyone to meet with another sell-out crowd and a record of over 18,000 .”
In a low-scoring, defensively minded clash the ability to create offence down the stretch is what separated the Kings from the Breakers in the final minutes of Game 5.
After trailling by as many as seven points in the final term the Kings stormed home on an 18-3 run in the final quarter
“I think what it came down to in the end – and something I suspected all through the Playoffs – was the Kings have the ability to make something from nothing.
“The win put paid to a Breakers fairytale – New Zealand spent the whole of last season on the road due to COVID-19 and finished bottom of the ladder – as they were denied the chance to write the final chapter in their rag-to-riches story under rookie coach Mody Maor.”
*Compiled from current reports