NBL Championship Series: Game Three – Keys to winning

THE NBL Championship Series is well and truly underway, with proceedings tied at one game apiece, and the third encounter scheduled for Friday night.

The Sydney Kings and the New Zealand Breakers both claimed impressive road wins over the first two matches, and game three looms as pivotal for the momentum of the series.

Taking a 2-1 lead would not only give the winning side a cushion, but also put plenty of pressure on the opposition heading into game four.

With both sides looking to make adjustments ahead of tonight’s game, we take a look at what we may see from the two teams in an attempt to outperform the opposition.

Sydney Kings

The Kings were stunned in game one as the Breakers entered Qudos Bank Arena and claimed a win in Sydney’s basketball colosseum. Returning to their home court, the minor champions will be looking to draw on the energy from the home crowd, but it all comes down to how they perform on the court.

MVP Xavier Cooks and star guard Derrick Walton Jr both exited game two after half time due to injury concerns, and although both may play, it will likely be through some sort of pain, and they may not be at their best. Dejan Vasiljevic will likely see more scoring opportunities after delivering his best offensive performance of the postseason last game. He is a big game player and looks to finally have found his groove.

A lot of the Kings’ success will come down to energy, a factor that lacked in game one, but was rediscovered a few days later. Slow starts have cost Sydney, but in game two, its ability to knock down early shots was telling in the final result of the match. They have found success in icing and sliding over screens, making life difficult for New Zealand’s leading scorer Barry Brown Jr., so that trend should continue.

Derrick Walton Jr. missed the second half of game two. Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand Breakers

The Breakers were brought undone in game two of the Championship Series, allowing Sydney to play to its strengths and struggling to keep up down the other end. Restricting the Kings in the opening term of game one, so the starting lineup will need to come out switched on and ready to suffocate the opposition on the defensive end.

One of the biggest areas of concerns from last outing was the fact that Sydney’s transition game got going and brought New Zealand undone. The fact that the Breakers were unable to create and knock down good looks meant the opposition was able to score on the fast break on plenty of occasions. Fixing this will be two-fold; the Breakers must become more consistent in knocking down their shots and make Sydney play in the half court, but also be prepared to run hard defensively to cover the leaking opposition.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments