It was bittersweet for the Sydney Kings after they finally secured their first win of the season. The 103-87 demolition job over a hapless Illawarra Hawks came at the expense of superstar guard Kevin Lisch, who went down with a suspected calf injury.
Kings import Perry Ellis showed up tonight and dropped 33 points, hitting 75% of his fifteen field goal attempts. Jason Cadee added 17, while Brad Newley and import Travis Leslie dropped 14 apiece.
Sydney shot extremely well, hitting 60% of their shots and also dropped 10 threes from beyond the arc.
Coach Andrew Gaze finally utilised one of his rookie bigs and gave Isaac Humphries eighteen minutes of valuable court time. The centre repaid that faith and delivered for the Kings, producing 11 points, 8 rebounds and shot 50% from the field.
Gaze continues to stick with a 7-man rotation. Surprisingly, forward Tom Garlepp is not in that regular lineup. He was inserted during garbage time with 2 minutes to go but somehow received a massive standing ovation from the adoring crowd.
Despite the victory, Sydney’s team defense remains porous and still needs to be addressed. Their defensive mental lapses would get punished had they played a better opponent.
In saying that, a win is a win and Sydney will take it at any cost. Gaze and co. delivered a vital win. The club is in sixth place on the NBL ladder.
Lisch may likely miss a few weeks to recover from the injury.
The Kings, looking to continue this momentum, now travel back to New Zealand to take on the Breakers on Thursday night. It’s the start of a long away stretch that will see the Kings play the next seven of eight games away from home.