The 23rd NBL Championship will be decided in a 5-game series between the New Zealand Breakers and the defending champions, the Sydney Kings.
Game 1 begins this Friday night in Sydney at Qudos Bank Arena with the Kings looking to hold their home court advantage after finishing on top of the ladder in the regular season.
Mody Maor: In Moar’s first season as head coach of the Breakers, he has taken them from finishing dead last in the 2021/22 season, to only 3 wins away from a championship. Moar began his career at the Breakers in 2019 as an assistant coach under Dan Shamir. His hard work behind the scenes and ability to build relationships quickly made him a favourite amongst players and the board alike.
“He’s found a way to get these guys to come together in a relatively short amount of time with a lot of [turnover], and they really believe. He’s got them believing they can win a championship”, said Breakers owner Matt Walsh. “He’s not a hard guy to like from his background and how genuine he is. It’s not supposed to be easy, and I think our whole team has taken that approach.”
Chase Buford: Buford has had a short but extremely successful period as the head coach of the Sydney Kings. Before landing in Australia, Buford coached the Wisconsin Herd, the G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks. His first year as head coach of the Kings in the 2021-2022 season resulted in a championship with Buford praised for developing his players both on the court and off.
Why the Breakers can win: Across the season the Breakers have had one of the best defences in the competition with the ability so stop all scorer both inside and outside the paint. Import, Dererk Pardon has been an absolute defensive force inside the paint this season for the Breakers side, with the big American averaging 12.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1 block.
Barry Brown Jr also looks set to have an excellent championship series, fresh off a 32-point game over the Tasmanian Jackjumpers. Brown Jr has performed well in all games against the Kings this year and the Breakers will be looking for him to be their main scorer in the championship series. They matchup well against the Kings and will be desperate to get a win early in the series to get the homecourt advantage.
Why the Kings can win: To put it simply, they’re the reigning champions and have clearly been the best side over the entire season. They have no weak links and are lead by the League MVP, Xavier Cooks who should be back to full fitness after suffering a minor ankle injury in the second game against the Cairns Taipans.
The Kings love to get out and score quickly on the fast break and have proven to score quickly constantly throughout the season.
The homecourt advantage has proven huge so far in this year’s finals series, with both semi-finals being pushed to a game 3.
Prediction – Kings in 5
Game 1: Friday March 3rd – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 7:30pm AEDT
Game 2: Sunday March 5th – Spark Arena, Auckland – 4:00pm AEDT
Game 3: Friday March 10th – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 7:30 AEDT
Game 4: Sunday March 12th – Spark Arena, Auckland – 4:00pm AEDT
Game 5: Wednesday March 15th – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 7:30pm AEDT