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Round 10 Preview: Kings vs. JackJumpers & Breakers

03 Feb
10 mins read

By Matt McQuade

 

It’s amazing how things can turn around in a hurry in the National Basketball League.

Think about it. A fortnight ago, the Brydens Lawyers Sydney Kings had just lost to the Bullets in Brisbane; a discouraging setback where they gave up yet another fourth quarter lead and suffered their fourth defeat on the trot.

The fans were upset, the media was savaging the team – it was all doom and gloom.

But a scant 48 hours later, Sydney responded with a thrashing of the Bullets at Qudos Bank Arena.

Okay fine, but what about the Perth Wildcats the following week? A team that had the wood on Sydney? A team that had won six straight against the purple and gold? Surely, they’d show the Kings that their win against the Bullets was an aberration and they would put Sydney in their place?

Well, not so much.

Right from the start, this was a Kings’ unit that was energised, committed to hard-nosed defence, and determined to show the Wildcats that they were in for one hell of a fight.

The result was a thoroughly dominant performance that took the Kings to a 5-6 record and with the possibility that they could jump into the Top Four after Round 10, should certain results fall their way.

Quite the turnaround for a team whose NBL22 prospects were being written off in some quarters just two weeks previously.

This week, Sydney has a great opportunity to further silence the critics with two huge games in a road/home double, starting with a Friday night clash in Tasmania against the feisty Tasmania JackJumpers and an early Sunday afternoon battle with the dangerous New Zealand Breakers at Qudos Bank Arena as part of an NBL/WNBL double-header with the Sydney Uni Flames taking on the Townsville Fire.

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The JackJumpers have won two straight games at home and have already turned MyState Bank Arena into a formidable home environment. In their first game against the Kings this season at the Q, Tasmania was in control for three quarters before being overrun and will present quite the challenge on Friday.

Their two import guards, Josh Magette (14.6ppg, 3.9rpg, 6.6apg, 2.0spg, 33.3% FG, 29.9% 3PT FG, 80.6% FT) and Josh Adams (15.1ppg, 4.0rpg, 2.0apg, 1.6spg, 35.6% FG, 18.9% 3PT FG, 72.9% FT) have the potential to do serious damage. Magette in particular was sensational in his team’s last start win over the Breakers and Adams is capable of lighting it up on any given night.

Then you’ve got a Will Magnay up front who is yet to find his feet this season but is showing signs he might be about to have a bust-out game; while Clint Steindl’s perimeter shooting can be deadly, Jack McVeigh plays with all-out aggression and the JackJumpers have a host of role players who all play extremely hard for Head Coach Scott Roth.

This is a first-year franchise that is quickly developing an identity as a tough-minded, take no prisoners ballclub that fears no one and the Kings will need to be prepared to get down and dirty in the trenches this Friday night.

After that major test – and have no doubt, it will be – the Kings head back home for a game against a New Zealand ballclub that has already dealt Sydney a defeat this season, with the Breakers getting an 82-75 decision at the Q in Round Seven.

At that time, it was a shock loss, but maybe not so stunning for anyone who witnessed New Zealand’s thorough dismantling of the Illawarra Hawks in Hobart on Wednesday.

The Breakers took apart a top four ballclub with championship aspirations thanks to a physical defensive effort and a halfcourt offence based primarily on various pick and roll schemes that sliced and diced Illawarra, leaving them helpless at times.

Despite New Zealand’s 3-8 record, that performance against the Hawks and their earlier victory against the Kings should serve notice that this is a ballclub not to be taken lightly.

The Breakers have a deep and very talented roster, led by import point guard Peyton Siva (12.0ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.4apg, 1.6spg, 39.1% FG, 30.0% 3PT FG, 83.3% FT), a two-way terror who can take over a game without even taking a shot. Then there’s big man Yanni Wetzell (17.1ppg, 7.0rpg, 1.1spg, 1.0bpg, 60.6% FG, 71.8% FT) whose ability to run the floor and be a major presence inside will be a serious puzzle the Kings will need to solve.

That’s just two of many threats Sydney has to deal with – think about Finn Delany and his inside-outside game; Jeremiah Martin as a left-handed swingman who can both attack the rack and drain the three; Hugo Besson as a deadly outside gunner and the poise of William McDowell-White.

Now, the Kings have plenty to work with themselves and are a squad riding a wave of confidence after two impressive home wins by double figures.

Import big man Jarell Martin (16.2ppg, 9.4rpg, 46.8% FG, 31.4% 3PT FG, 78.9% FT) is in All-NBL form and leads the league in rebounding this season. His athletic ability and offensive skillset are huge keys in both games this weekend. Point guard Jaylen Adams (19.8ppg, 5.5rpg, 5.8apg, 1.0spg, 41.0% FG, 38.5% 3PT FG, 81.2% FT) was nothing less than brilliant against Perth last week and will be getting a ton of league MVP votes if he maintains his form throughout this campaign. And Xavier Cooks (12.9ppg, 9.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.7bpg, 46.5% FG, 25.0% 3PT FG, 63.0% FT) has been a dominant force at both ends and is already a standout candidate for NBL Defensive Player of the Year.

Others have stepped up too, with Shaun Bruce’s huge fourth quarter serving as a catalyst for Sydney’s terrific win over Perth last week; Dejan Vasiljevic is really getting his rhythm back offensively; Wani Swaka Lo Buluk is defending at an elite level and Angus Glover and Tom Vodanovich have brought great energy whenever they are on the floor.

Things can change quickly in NBL22.

And the Brydens Lawyers Sydney Kings have a great chance in Round 10 to make some serious noise.

The Pride of Sydney is on the march.

 

WHO

Brydens Lawyers Sydney Kings vs. Tasmania JackJumpers

Brydens Lawyers Sydney Kings vs. New Zealand Breakers

Sydney Uni Flames vs. Townsville Fire (NBL/WNBL double-header)

WHEN

Friday 4 February, 7:30pm tipoff AEST (vs. JackJumpers)

Sunday 6 February, 1:00pm tipoff AEST (Kings vs. Breakers); 3:30 pm tipoff AEST (Flames vs. Fire)

LOCATION

MyState Bank Arena, Hobart (Friday)

Qudos Bank Arena (Sunday)

TICKETS

Sunday’s NBL/WNBL double-header available via Ticketek or the Qudos Bank Arena Box Office

TV

Friday: ESPN

Sunday: ESPN, 10 Peach

RADIO

Cluch Radio (Friday and Sunday)

THE PLAYERS

Kings

Jaylen Adams (import); Dejan Vasiljevic; Wani Swaka Lo Buluk; Xavier Cooks; Jarell Martin (import)

Angus Glover; Shaun Bruce; Matur Maker; Tom Vodanovich; Jaylin Galloway (development player); Jayden Hodgson (development Player); Ignatius Mitchell (development player)

JackJumpers

Josh Adams (import); Josh Maggette (import); Sam McDaniel; Jack McVeigh; Will Magnay

MiKyle McIntosh (import); Clint Steindl; Jarrad Weeks; Fabijan Krslovic; Jarred Bairstow; Matt Kenyon; Sejr Deans (development player); Sean Macdonald (development player); Jock Perry (development player)

Breakers

Will McDowell White; Hugo Besson (import); Ousmane Dieng (Next Star); Finn Delany; Yanni Wetzell

Peyton Siva (import); Jeremiah Martin (import); Robert Loe; Kyrin Galloway; Sam Timmins (development player); Rasmus Bach; Isaac Davidson

THE COACHES

Kings

Chase Buford (NBL rookie head coach, record 5-6)

JackJumpers

Scott Roth (NBL rookie head coach, record 4-6)

Breakers

Dan Shamir (3rd season with Breakers, NBL record 29-45)

2021/2022 REGULAR SEASON SERIES

Vs. JackJumpers

Kings lead 1-0

Kings 83 def. JackJumpers 71 @ Qudos Bank Arena, Round 3

Vs. Breakers

Breakers lead 1-0

Breakers 82 def. Kings 75 @ Qudos Bank Arena, Round 7

NBL LADDER

Kings 5-6, fifth

JackJumpers 4-6, sixth

Breakers 3-8, tenth

LAST GAME

Kings beat Perth Wildcats 96-81 @ Qudos Bank Arena, Round 9

JackJumpers def. New Zealand Breakers 83-59 @ MyState Bank Arena, Hobart, Round 9

Breakers def. Illawarra Hawks 90-67 @ MyState Bank Arena, Hobart, Round 10

KEY STATS

Kings

Points: Jaylen Adams, 19.8ppg

Rebounds: Jarell Martin, 9.4rpg

Assists: Jaylen Adams, 5.8apg

JackJumpers

Points: Josh Adams, 15.1ppg

Rebounds: Will Magnay, 5.4rpg

Assists: Josh Magette, 6.6apg

Breakers

Points: Yanni Wetzell, 17.1ppg

Rebounds: Yanni Wetzell, 7.0rpg

Assists: William McDowell-White, 3.7apg

KEY MATCHUP

Friday: Jarell Martin vs. Will Magnay

Jarell Martin has been in red-hot form for the purple and gold this season, with a particular focus on providing a solid presence on the glass. As Head Coach Chase Buford often says, Jarell is a difficult matchup at the best of times for other bigs around the league thanks to his mobility, footwork and ability to stretch the floor, but when he’s aggressive at both ends, either seeking out rebounds or looking to attack the interior, he’s just about unstoppable. Will Magnay hasn’t had the impact many envisaged when he was signed by Tasmania after a stint in the NBA, but he might be starting to get on track and he has the physical tools to be both highly effective in the low post and as a rim protector at the other end of the floor. If the JackJumpers get Magnay going early, it’s going to open up opportunities for their guards; conversely the Kings need Jarell to be forceful right from the tip and put maximum heat on the rim.

Sunday: Jaylen Adams vs. Peyton Siva

When these two met back in Round Seven, it was Peyton Siva taking the honours in leading the Breakers to an upset victory at the Q. However, for some context, that was also a Jaylen Adams still coming back from injury and as he’s shown in the past couple of games, the real Jaylen Adams is beginning to emerge. Over the past two games, Adams has averaged 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.5 blocked shots while shooting the ball at 45.9% from the field and a blistering 47.1% from three-point range. He was spectacular against the Wildcats, dominating his matchup with Bryce Cotton, and he’s primed for a big Round 10. He will relish the challenge of going up against a quality floor leader like Siva, whose decision-making is generally on point as a guy who unerringly makes everyone around him better.

THE QUESTIONS

Can the Kings get a win in a hostile environment in Hobart?

Will Sydney continue their outstanding recent form at the Q?

HISTORY

All-time Head-to-Head – JackJumpers

1 game played; Kings lead 1-0

In Hobart

First meeting

All-time Head-to-Head – Breakers

59 games played; Kings lead 30-29

In Sydney

30 games played; Kings lead 18-12

At Qudos Bank Arena

9 games played; Kings lead 7-2

DID YOU KNOW?

On Friday night, the Kings will take to the court in Hobart for the first time in over 25 years, or 9,304 days to be exact. Sydney’s last game at what was then called the Derwent Entertainment Centre was on Friday, 16 August, 1996, where they lost an 82-81 thriller to the Hobart Devils. Sydney trailed by 12 points at the half before launching a brave comeback that fell just short, with Isaac Burton and Bruce Bolden combining for 52 points, 14 rebounds and nine steals and an injured Shane Heal held scoreless for one of the rare times in his stellar career. Overall, the Kings played the Devils 18 times from 1988 to 1996 for a 15-3 win-loss record; all three of those losses came in Hobart. Sydney’s biggest win ever at the JackJumpers’ current venue came way back in 1990, when Steve Carfino and Marc Ridlen both had 30 points to lead the Kings to a 143-107 blowout of the Devils – the purple and gold shot 60% from the field and scored 78 second-half points in that massacre.

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