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Kings' 'grind' makes championship even sweeter

16 Mar
4 mins read

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By Dan Woods for

The Sydney Kings are back-to-back NBL champions for the second time in their history, and head coach Chase Buford believes his side’s two triumphs are absolutely incomparable.

The Sydney Kings are back-to-back NBL champions for the second time in their history, and head coach Chase Buford believes his side’s two triumphs are absolutely incomparable.

The Kings overcame a spirited underdog in the New Zealand Breakers in game five in front of yet another NBL-record crowd.

After falling behind by as many as 12 points in the second quarter they bounced back through Xavier Cooks and Derrick Walton Jr to run out as eight-point winners.

Check out Chase Buford and Derrick Walton Jr's post-game press conference above, via our Sydney Kings' YouTube channel. While you're there, be sure to hit subscribe, to ensure you never miss out on any of our great videos.

After suffering four defeats in their final six regular season games, the Kings were forced into a three-game Playoff Series against Cairns before being taken to five games by New Zealand.

“If last year was kind of a crescendo towards the end, then this was a grind the whole year,” Buford said post-game.

“We started the year pretty well and then we had a little lull towards the end and were wondering if we were ever going to find ourselves again or get back where we needed.

“Three games out of a five-game series these guys just found a way to drag us across the line.

“Full credit to Mody and his crew, New Zealand was terrific this whole series – this whole season, and just like the Cairns series we got hot in the last few minutes of the game in game five and that was the only difference. What a game of basketball, what a series.

“We’re in the middle of a back-to-back. That’s what I’m worried about tonight.”


While Walton Jr took the Larry Sengstock Trophy as the Championship Series’ MVP, plenty of plaudits are being saved for Angus Glover – as the backup guard became an unlikely hero for the Kings across the entire post-season.

Glover has famously undergone three knee reconstructions in his young career and has part of his father’s hamstring holding one of his knees together.

He averaged 8.9 points per game in the post-season with incredible splits of 50 per cent from the field, 40 per cent from three and 91.7 per cent from the free throw line.

While in obvious discomfort with an apparent rib injury, Glover hit a clutch three and a momentum-shifting dunk to help guide his side to victory.

“’Glove’ has been great for us all year, I told him just a second ago he’s probably been the biggest victim of our depth this year because we’ve had a like-for-like replacement for every position,” Buford said.

“He’s earned more minutes than he’s got this year.”

“I’ve seen what type of guy he is, and he’s always been a team-first guy. Every day, day in day out, he gives more service to anybody like a serving leader, he’s played well beyond the role he’s supposed to play,” Walton Jr said of his teammate.

“He played and made big shots through every single game he played down the stretch in the last two months.

“It’s always easy to root for a guy who’s got perseverance like that, so I’m proud of him, proud for him and happy for him.”

Walton Jr is one of a host of Kings stars who remains out of contract for NBL24, alongside Glover, Tim Soares and Justin Simon.

After adding a championship ring and Larry Sengstock Trophy to his All-NBL First Team selection in his debut campaign with the Kings, he remained coy on his NBL future.

“I think we’ve all got goals and aspirations we’d love to meet. As great as this one was when it’s all said and done, we’ll just make the educated decision for us all individually.”  


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