NBL21: Sydney Kings defeat injury-hit Brisbane Bullets

Sydney coach Adam Forde gave his team a “figurative punch in the face” at halftime as his Kings went through the motions against the decimated Brisbane Bullets.

It worked.

After a lacklustre first-half where the Kings stood back and watched the Nathan Sobey show, they came out after the main break with a renewed intensity on both ends of the floor, steaming home for a 90-71 victory.

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Nathan Sobey did his best to lead the undermanned Bullets. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Missing both imports in Vic Law and Lamar Patterson, as well as starting guard Tanner Krebbs and sharpshooter Anthony Drmic, Boomer Sobey took personal responsibility for filling the offensive void for the Bullets, pouring in 21 points before halftime.

He was helped by a sleepy Kings’ defence that Forde said had a “hangover” from its trip to Perth Thursday, that limped into halftime down 2.

To be fair to the Kings, they did have the added difficulty of returning from the Wildcats trip, where they copped a bad beat and Forde was fined for his comments about the referees — although some would say he was stiff, given some of the late-game calls in that game.

Casper Ware locked in on Sobey after halftime. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But they were making no excuses as defensive dynamo Casper Ware locked in on Sobey and the Kings went on a 9-0 run to start the second half.

The Bullets would not lead again as Sobey went scoreless for the next eight minutes.

He did make two free throws and drilled a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the third — only to watch Brad Newley hit a clutch lay-up at the other end as time expired.

Sobey finished with a game-high 31 points, while Brisbane tower Tyrell Harrison, who usually starts, but was moved to the bench in the Bullets’ reshuffle, absolutely hammered the boards, keeping his side in it with 19 rebounds — 8 offensive — in just 25 minutes.

Tyrell Harrison crashed the glass for the Bullets. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But it wasn’t enough as the Kings flexed their muscle in the last, widebody Jarell Martin, using his big man inside-outside abilities to put up 16 points and haul in 10 rebounds after he was a game-time decision with injury.

“We owed it to our fans from the last game,” Martin said after the game.

“It was tough, everybody’s legs felt heavy from the flight and the quick turnaround, but we fought through and we played hard and came out with the victory.”

The Bullets have now lost three in a row for the first time this season and will lick their injury wounds before a visit to the Illawarra Hawks Wednesday.

The Kings get their chance at some home cooking and a little revenge when they host the Wildcats at Qudos Bank Arena a night later in what will be a highly anticipated return bout.

Kings coach Adam Forde gave his charges a figurative “punch in the face” to inspire them after halftime. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


Craig Moller had a career-high 15 points the last time these two teams played. The towering dreadlocked one topped that with 20 points, including four three-pointers, as his energy off the bench turned into a special night. Andrew Gaze once anointed the 26-year-old as a potential Olympic star. He can only get better from here.

Craig Moller topped his career-high against the Bullets. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


Brisbane is still coming to terms with the news Law will miss an extended period with his ankle injury. The Bullets will find out after Easter just how long they will be without the former Orlando Magic NBAer, but Lemanis is looking within to fill the void.

“The league doesn’t stop because we have injuries to deal with. We have great talent in the team, many of whom have played for Australia. We will now draw from that experience to adjust how we play and continue to give ourselves the best opportunity for success,” Lemanis said.

The Bullets will be without star import Vic Law for an extended stretch. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


With all the injuries, the Bullets gave development player Blake Jones his first career start. The teenager has represented Australia at junior level, but had only appeared three times for the Bullets before the Kings clash, never playing more than 2mins. The 204cm wing has spent time in the USA as part of an NBA Global Academy Scholarship in 2018 and also attended the 2020 Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Chicago.

Originally published as‘Punch in the face’ helps Kings stop wounded Bullets

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