IN what was one of the biggest upsets of the season to date, the Sydney Kings were able to emerge victorious in their clash against the Perth Wildcats at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon. Despite the Wildcats being heavily favoured entering this match, the Kings were able to put on a show in front of their home crowd, taking down one of the championship favourites in a convincing manner. The home side delivered a fantastic first half, shocking Perth to jump out to an early lead thanks to some terrific play on both sides of the court. The visitors fought back in the third period, but the damage was already done in the first half, with the Kings emerging 15-point victors, 96-81.
The strongest performing player on the court ended up being Kings guard Jaylen Adams, who continued his strong run of form of late. Adams has been terrific in his last few outings, and this pattern resumed against the Wildcats, as he recorded his second 30+ point performance of the last few weeks. He has been the difference as his side looks to turn their season around, and against Perth, Adams recorded 30 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in an outstanding performance for the import guard.
Adams started the game as well as he could have asked for, finding teammate Jarell Martin outside the the arc, where he drained the step-back three. The guard then decided it was his turn to get in on the action, sinking the floater after his side was able to secure the offensive rebound. He went cold for a few minutes after, missing a couple of tough shots and unluckily turning the ball over, but got back into the swing of things with a board before taking the ball up the other end and draining the pull-up shot from behind the arc. Adams was sure to work both ways too, swatting away a Majok Majok lay-up, before going down the other end and sinking one himself, to round out what was a strong opening term.
Adams spent the opening minutes on the bench, checking into the game with just under eight minutes remaining in the term. He kicked off his second quarter action with a rebound, a steal and a couple of assists as he looked to benefit his side in any way possible, demonstrating he is more than a scorer. His shooting proved to be a bit wayward at times, but he found his rhythm with a pull-up jumpshot to give his side a 16-point lead, before being subbed out to close out the half.
The Perth defence came out of halftime looking to nullify the impact of Adams, given how damaging he proved in the first half. The Kings were forced to use Adams as a slight decoy as he acted as more of a passer to open things up for his team. This strategy still proved to be working when the guard found Dejan Vasiljevic open for three, with his shot finding the bottom of the net. Things got heated when Perth big man Matt Hodgson took a couple of swings at Vasiljevic, and following this, the Wildcats made a bit of a run. Adams was reflective of his side, and had a quiet period. He made a crucial free throw at the end of the period, getting the momentum back on the side of the Kings.
The guard was able to get things rolling early in the final term, dishing a nice assist to Vasiljevic before drilling a stepback jumper from behind the arc as the Kings regained control of the contest. After adding another dime to his tally, he sank yet another shot from deep, with the defence clearly giving him too much space given his form throughout the match. He was seemingly unstoppable in this time, converting a tough lay-up through the contact and sinking the subsequent free throw. To top things off, he drained his sixth triple of the contest to top off a big win for Sydney in front of their home crowd.