The Sydney Kings suffered a heart-breaking loss in their home opener, falling short 77-73 against the Brisbane Bullets at Qudos Arena overnight.
It was a disappointing result for the club after a much-hyped pre-season. With seven brand new recruits, including Boomers players Kevin Lisch, Aleks Maric and Brad Newley, the team has not found the right chemistry on the court just yet.
The Kings were outrebounded and outhustled by a physical Brisbane outfit. American imports Greg Whittington and Michael Bryson failed to deliver, combining for a measly 11 points and 5 rebounds between them in their NBL debut. Sydney did have a chance to steal the game late in the fourth quarter, but costly turnovers proved to be their downfall.
“The biggest issue though was rebounding. I can’t remember a game this preseason where we’ve won the rebound count, and you just can’t do that,” said Kings head coach Andrew Gaze.
Newly-appointed captain Lisch led the Kings with 20 point, while sophomore forward Jeromie Hill pitched in with 14 points. Daniel Kickert powered the Bullets home with 17 points, while centre Torrey Craig grabbed 17 huge rebounds. Brisbane won their second game of the season after a surprising victory over defending champions Perth Wildcats four days ago.
Despite the loss, there are plenty of positives for Sydney. The game attracted more than 8,000 die-hard Kings fans. The return to classy stadium Qudos Arena is a testament that the new owners are committed to bringing the best game-night entertainment in town.
A newly-installed $7-million dollar scoreboard, said to be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, a fresh group of cheerleaders, an amusing halftime baby race, and a pre-game recognition of Kings legend Dean “Man Mountain” Uthoff, are all part of the exciting new changes that management has made.
The expected arrival of aggressive import Josh Powell should shore up an underwhelming Kings frontline.
Sydney are still missing the services of superstar centre Julian Khazzouh, sidelined for another two weeks.
Their next game is on Thursday October 13 against rivals Illawarra Hawks at the Sandpit in Wollongong, followed by another home game against the Cairns Taipans next Saturday.