It’s Friday the 13th and the Cardiac Sydney Kings are off to a rocky start with another heart-breaking loss tonight.
DJ Newbill hit a game winning layup in the final seconds to give the New Zealand Breakers an 87-85 win over the Sydney Kings at Auckland’s Smart Arena.
The Kings fought from 13 points down at halftime and 7 down with three minutes remaining to tie the scores on a dramatic Perry Ellis tip in, but it just wasn’t enough.
Perry Ellis top scored with 19 points and Todd Blanchfield had 15, and an epic block on Rob Loe, and so did Kevin Lisch and Travis Leslie.
The club added firepower and younger, more athletic players during the offseason, but nobody has showed any propensity to play solid defence on a consistent basis.
Sydney’s lack of defensive presence in the middle is telling with their 0-2 start.
Coach Andrew Gaze and his assistants will need to address this urgently or face another very long, losing season. It’s frustrating for everybody, but the guys on the court are accountable for each other.
The veterans who receive the bulk of the minutes need to play both ends of the court, or play harder as a defensive unit to be able to unleash their transition game.
Gaze calls the shots off the bench and need to balance the roster and playing time.
Anyone can score in the team, from Cadee, Newley, Lisch, Blanchfield and the two imports. However, that is not enough to build any kind of lead if you fail to stop the opponent from scoring buckets.
In tonight’s game against the Breakers, the Kings’ three biggest players on the team, rookies Amritpal Singh, Isaac Humphries and Dane Pineau barely got enough minutes to make any kind of impact.
Playing catch up basketball is especially hard when only a handful of your players provide resistance or show any kind of heart to play D. Real talk.
Either somebody takes the defensive duties up front, or the coaches better start utilising their defensive stoppers to help stop the bleeding. Sacrifice your bodies, foul your opponents hard enough to make them think twice about driving into the lane.
No D, no court time. Easy as that.
The Kings will look to rebound in the big derby clash at home against the Illawarra Hawks on Sunday at 3pm at Qudos Bank Arena.
Sydney has two days to regroup and take long, hard look at themselves in the mirror. It ain’t too late to make changes.
The ball is in your court, Sydney. Step up or ship out.