The Sydney Kings have set up a blockbuster clash against Brian Goorjian’s Illawarra Hawks following a big win over the New Zealand Breakers.
All roads will lead to Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday when the Kings take on the franchise’s most successful coach in Goorjian, who is now coaching arch rivals Illawarra.
Sydney head into the clash with plenty of confidence after an impressive 84-74 win over the Breakers in their first home game of the season.
Former NBA big man Jarell Martin was the standout for the Kings with 20 points and six rebounds.
The ex-Memphis and Orlando forward produced a timely tip-in dunk late in the fourth quarter while he was also solid on the defensive end for the Kings.
Former NBA big man Jarell Martin was the standout for the Kings with 20 points and six rebounds. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Star guard Casper Ware overcame some early shooting struggles to rediscover his spark with 22 points.
Ware revealed how a pre-game chat with his father helped compose him to produce his best.
“I had a talk to pop, and he said remember who you are and don’t worry about none of that,” Ware said post-game.
“And that is all it is, it (my shooting) is going to come and it never left.
“Every win builds confidence, but we’ve got a long way to go and we’ve got to build from this.”
Kings rookie guard Dejan Vasiljevic put on a show with 17 points in another classy performance in his maiden NBL season while back-court buddy Shaun Bruce added nine.
The Kings struggled to contain Breakers guard Corey Webster, who finished with a game-high 25 points.
Webster looked unstoppable at stages as he produced his best performance of the season to date, but the Kings held on defensively to claim a crucial win.
Regardless of the Breakers result, the Kings must find another gear to topple Illawarra on Sunday.
Goorjian has the Hawks humming led by the NBL’s Splash Brothers, Justinian Jessup and Tyler Harvey, so they won’t be the easy beat little brothers of past seasons.
The league’s most successful mentor is also feeling reinvigorated in his return to the NBL after spending over a decade coaching in China.
This could spell danger for the Kings if they fail to play at a high intensity for the full four quarters.
The Sydney Kings face Brian Goorjian’s Illawarra Hawks on Sunday and will go in confident following a big win over the talented New Zealand Breakers. Photo: Martin Keep/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Vasiljevic ramps up Rookie of the Year chat:
Serbian sharpshooter Dejan Vasiljevic continued his impressive rookie NBL season with impressive shooting from range.
The 23-year-old is still young, but he possesses the attributes to make it to the NBA if he maintains his form.
The talented guard showcased his potential during his four years at the University of Miami where he averaged 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in his senior year.
Vasiljevic certainly deserves to be in the conversation for the NBL’s Rookie of the Year at this early stage of the season.
Ware rewarded for poise:
Expectation was high for Casper Ware heading into this Breakers clash following his standout performance against Adelaide last round.
As always, Ware was solid defensively for the Kings with his dogged determination to compete on every possession.
The diminutive guard also showcased impressive patience on the offensive end after battling early on with his shooting.
Ware found his stroke, although his shooting from beyond the arc can be much better.
We all know what the championship-winning guard is capable of, but he needs to produce more consistently if Sydney are going to go deep this season.
Star New Zealand signing Lamar Patterson needs to aim up. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images
Patterson needs to aim up:
The NBL collectively rejoiced/ nervously sighed last weekend when New Zealand’s star import Lamar Patterson rediscovered his brilliant best against Cairns.
Unfortunately for Patterson, he struggled to produce his shooting stroke against the Kings.
He was 0-5 from the field in the first half and it didn’t get better in the second half with the former Brisbane Bullet finishing with just six points.
Patterson also had three fouls and he needs to be more disciplined and productive to justify his pay packet as the Breakers star signing.
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