Kings suffer road defeat to surging Sixers
The Sydney Kings lost to the Adelaide 36ers for the second time in a month on Friday night, going down 85-78 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
The loss, in which they produced their second-lowest scoring output of the season, sees the Kings drop to the sixth spot on the ladder, with two rounds remaining before the post-season.
Jordi Hunter scored the Kings’ first three points, but the visitors trailed 6-3, which soon became 9-all after consecutive buckets by Jaylen Adams (in his 50th game for the club). A triple by Jonah Bolden gave the visitors a three-point lead before the two rivals traded baskets – with the returning from injury Jaylin Galloway leading the way for the purple and gold. After a fast-paced first term, the Kings led 18-17, thanks largely to a 15-9 rebound count.
Early buckets by Kouat Noi (following a sharp JA pass) and Denzel Valentine triple extended the Hoops Capital side’s lead to three. An Adams’ and-one, followed by a lay-up by the NBL22 MVP and an alley-oop from Valentine to Bolden, made it 30-25. But the Sixers rattled off seven of the next nine, to tie it up at 32-all with 3.49 to play. Strong play by Galloway and the returning DJ Hogg helped the harbour city side go up 39-34. A late score by NSW junior Noi made it 41-37 at half-time.
That lead was quickly evaporated after the resumption, with Adelaide scoring the first nine points of the period, which quickly turned into a 16-2 run. A hook shot by Hogg, followed by free-throws by Galloway and Adams steadied the ship for Sydney – see the margin reduced to just four. Valentine landed Sydney’s fourth shot from downtown (from 24 attempts), powering the Kings back into the lead. A buzzer-beater by the Michigan State alum capped a 16-1 run by the Kings, as they led 59-54 at the final change.
The hosts scored the first five points of the term, but a Makuach Maluach triple restored the purple and gold’s advantage. An early 5-1 foul count against Sydney hurt Mahmoud Adbelfattah’s side, as Bolden fouled out. An Angus Glover triple kept Sydney close before a pair of Adams shots from the charity stripe put them up by one – which was quickly followed by two efforts by Hunter. Former King Dejan Vasiljevic did all he could to keep his side in it, which energised them into 10 straight points late in the fourth – capped by Kyrin Galloway's three. Two late triples by Adams meant little, as the Kings fell to their 14th loss of the season by seven points.
Where the match was decided
The key reason the Kings tasted defeat was their loss in field goal percentage (43-34).
With the match in the balance, a crucial 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter by the hosts sparked them to their 11th triumph of NBL24.
Player of the game
In the defeat, Adams top scored with 21 points, to go with five assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Others to score in double-digits were Valentine (12 points, nine boards and five dimes) and Hunter (10 points and seven rebounds).
Mahmoud Abdelfattah’s side, who are now 12-14 now return home to Sydney for their final regular season fixture at Qudos Bank Aren on Sunday, February 11.
That fixture will pit them against Freeway Series rivals Illawarra from 4pm AEDT.
Tickets for this blockbuster are still available here.