Hawks produce remarkable comeback to fend off upset
THE National Basketball League (NBL) has returned for a seventh round of action over this upcoming weekend period. Things kicked off on Thursday night with another chapter in the rivalry between the Illawarra Hawks and the Sydney Kings with the two sides facing off at WIN Entertainment Centre on Thursday night. This was the second clash between these teams for NBL22, and once again it was the Illawarra Hawks who emerged victorious, claiming an eight-point win in front of 1,994 fans. The Hawks were forced to work for the win, eventually needing to rally in the final term to ensure the Kings did not produce a shocking boilover.
The first term played out as expected, with the Hawks bursting out of the gate to gain the upper hand on the opposition, although this did not look certain initially. The Kings were actually the first team to take the lead, and started the match on a 9-0 run to shock the opposition, as Wani Swaka Lo Buluk was most impressive with five points in the opening minutes. However, the Hawks were able to wrestle back control of the game and take full advantage of this momentum to take a six-point advantage into the first break.
The second term saw a fightback from the Kings, who were determined to keep this match from slipping out of their grip. Sydney were able to halt the scoring of their opponents and take the lead in the first two minutes of the second period thanks to some strong play that came from a number of contributors. As the quarter wore on, the lead went back and forth between the sides, but it was the Kings who were able to make the crucial plays, as they trimmed the quarter-time deficit back to just one point and set up a thrilling second half.
The third term opened with the Hawks bursting away early, thanks to the ridiculously good shooting from star guard Tyler Harvey, who was automatic from deep throughout the match. However, the Kings were once again determined to turn their fortunes around, as they completed yet another fightback. Despite trailing by double-digits multiple times throughout the quarter, Sydney were able to claw their way back into the contest in the second half of the term, and their hard work resulted in a surprising three-point advantage heading into the final term in what was proving to be an enthralling match.
All hopes of an upset were quickly dashed in the opening minutes of the final term, with the class of the Hawks shining through in the last 10 minutes of the match. They were able to quickly regain the lead and never looked back as the minutes wore on, finishing the match with an impressive 22-11 final term as they stormed home to their fourth win of the season, and denied the Kings of an impressive win. Despite the final result, the effort of the Kings must be commended, but it is also obvious that the Hawks have the required tools to go deep into finals this season.
CLOSING THOUGHTS …
For the Hawks, the duo of Harvey and Sam Froling proved to be unstoppable, as the pair had their way with the Sydney defence for most of the match. Harvey made his first six attempts from behind the three-point line and finished with 23 points (shooting 80 percent from the field and 85 percent from three) and six assists. His teammate in Froling was equally impressive, finishing with 27 points, nine rebounds and two steals in a well-rounded performance. The Kings were not short of contributors either despite the loss, and none were more impressive than Jarell Martin. The forward poured in a double-double to finish with 23 points and 10 rebounds as he fought tooth and nail to drag his side over the line.