Sydney Kings belt Melbourne United by 28 points to keep finals hopes alive

A shooting masterclass has helped the Sydney Kings bury championship favourites Melbourne United by a whopping 28 points to keep their finals hopes alive.

United have been the benchmark team this season, but the Kings blew their arch rivals off the court to record a dominant 103-75 win.

Sydney guard Casper Ware was outstanding against his former franchise, where he won a championship in 2018, finishing with 13 points.

The diminutive guard did all his damage early, dropping 10 points in the first half to help Sydney lead by a whopping 21 points at the break – the club’s biggest first half score this season.

Casper Ware was strong in a big win over his former franchise Melbourne United. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

Ware received plenty of help from Sydney’s big men – Jordan Hunter and Jarell Martin – who were both sensational to relegate United to a fourth straight loss.

Hunter finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds while Martin added 15 points and 6 rebounds.

Former United forward Craig Moller was also a standout with 9 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists while Rookie of the Year favourite Dejan Vasiljevic continued his impressive form with 11 points.

Hunter was named man of the match and he credited his surge in form this season to a collective leadership approach at the Kings, which features two of the best big men in Australian basketball history in the recently retired Andrew Bogut and three-time NBA champion Luc Longley as a club adviser.

“I’m just chipping away,” Hunter said.

“Bogues (Andrew Bogut) and Kickert have been amazing, as well as coaches Forde and Weaver last year and of course Longley.

“I’m just listening, working hard, and showing up – that is half the job.”

The Kings remain in sixth position, but they remain in the mix for the finals with a stretch of home games coming.

Sydney have struggled with injuries to key players all season, but their fight has been admirable.

If the Kings can get guard Xavier Cooks back from injury, then they will be right in the mix for a top four position.

Sydney will look to maintain their momentum when they host Cairns on Sunday from 5pm.

Kings bigs aim up:

United centre Jock Landale is the NBL’s best big man, but even he couldn’t contain the red-hot Kings.

Bigs Jordan Hunter and Jarell Martin were devastating for Sydney, dropping 14 and 11 points respectively in the first half.

Hunter and Martin continued their assault in the second half and Melbourne simply had no answers.

Landale finished with a commendable 18 points and 7 rebounds but he was overshadowed by the Kings on a night to forget for Melbourne.

Jock Landale tried his best, but he couldn’t contain the red-hot Sydney Kings. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images.Source:Getty Images

United wakeup call:

Melbourne may be missing the likes of Scotty Hopson and Jack White through injury, but what they dished up against Sydney was substandard.

United lacked energy on the defensive end while their shooting went missing as the Kings romped home in convincing style.

There is no questioning Melbourne possess the strike power and talent to rediscover their form, and championship credentials, but they need to pick up their act.

According to United coach Dean Vickerman, it starts with the basics like energy and effort.

“We have crashed the boards, but we haven’t got back in numbers,” Vickerman said.

“We have got some people out, but we’ve got others who can step up.”

Melbourne will receive a chance to respond from their Sydney smashing when they host Brian Goorjian’s Illawarra Hawks on Sunday.

Louzada is back:

There is no questioning the potential of Kings NBA draft prospect Didi Louzada.

The Brazilian international is blessed athletically, but he needs to be better if he wants to return to the world’s best league.

Louzada must be listening to the criticism because he produced one of his better games this season against Melbourne.

The New Orleans Pelicans hopeful finished with 14 points, which should give him plenty of confidence.

Louzada deserves a shot in the NBA, now he has to consistency fire to fulfil his dream.

Source: Read Full Article