The Sydney Kings dominated the New Zealand Breakers 91-68 in front of the highest attendance ever for an NBL game to move them one win away from securing back-to-back championships.
The Kings comfortable win against the Breakers gives them a 2-1 lead in the 5 game championship series, with Game 4 to be played in New Zealand.
The first half was an even affair with mistakes being made by both sides, highlighted by the Kings 12 turnovers.
Sydney’s superstars in new Washington Wizards recruit Xavier Cooks and American guard Derrick Walton Jnr. were both unusually quiet in the first half as the Breakers took a 4-point lead into the half.
The Breakers jumped out of the blocks to start the 3rd quarter, taking their lead to 9 as they looked to upset the Kings once again in front of their home fans. It was at this moment a switch seemed to go off for the King’s side.
The defensive monster that is Justin Simon helped tighten the screws for the Kings and the Breakers began to struggle on the scoring front.
The Kings ball movement was simply superb in the second half with their scoring being shared evenly around the team, Dejan Vasiljevic top scored for the home team with only 15 points. Cooks (10pts, 8 rebounds) and Walton (12pts, 9 assists) looked like completely different players in the second half. Unsung Kings big man Tim Soares (14pts, 6 rebounds) was impressive despite the rumours leading up to Game 3 that he would be coming off the bench.
Sydney won the second half 48-21, with their defence on full show as they kept Breakers stars Barry Brown Jnr., Rob Lowe, and Jarrell Brantley scoreless in the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Speaking after the game, Breaker’s head coach Mody Moar was clearly disappointed in their game, “Obviously it was a very bad second half from us but I believe in our guys’ ability to go and put together a good 40 minutes and come back here for game five,”.
On the other hand, Kings coach Chase Buford was impressed with his side from half time, “The message (at halftime) was pretty simple, just keep doing what we’re doing, but we’ve got to tighten a couple of things up,” Buford said.
“These guys just came out and played with an intensity that really made whatever the message was pretty irrelevant.”
All eyes will be on Game 4 in New Zealand with both teams having everything to play for. Expect a physical defensive contest from the 2 best sides in the competition.
Where: Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand
When: Sunday, March 12th, , 4:00pm AEDT
Watch: Kayo / ESPN / 10 Play