Sydney downs the Breakers
The Sydney Kings produced a season-best performance to blow away reigning champions New Zealand 75-62 on Saturday night.
With the game evenly poised after 30 minutes, Corin Henry (29 points) took the game by the scruff of the neck with 14 final-quarter points.
He nailed three big three-pointers and a had-to-be-seen-to-be-believed dribble while on the floor before laying-up – to springboard the Kings to a much-deserved win.
With big men Ian Crosswhite (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Darnell Lazare (9 points, 7 rebounds) standing up to the Breakers' talls under the boards, the Kings’ constant aggression unsettled the champions.
Despite a slow start, veteran Breaker CJ Bruton (18 points, 3 assists) and Corey Webster (11 points) seemed, for much of the game, like they were two men on a mission to try and keep the Breakers in it.
But no matter how close New Zealand got, the Kings were able to find another gear.
Sydney set the tone for their victory early, jumping to a 14-2 lead early and the sell-out crowd at the Olympic Sports Centre responded, rousing with every home effort.
In fact, the team put on a show in the first quarter that easily ranks as their best since returning to the league.
Bruton’s nine second-quarter points got the Breakers back to within eight points at half-time, having trailed by as many as 16.
But just as the Kings were threatened, five unanswered points by Crosswhite and a three-pointer from main man Ben Madgen (13 points) stretched their lead back to 17 points.
Bruton, though, was again at the heart of everything and suddenly the Kings led by only five at the end of the third quarter.
And so it was perfectly poised for a grandstand finish.
Henry had other ideas, however, and his magic ensured the Kings recorded a memorable victory.
Sydney Kings 75 (Henry 29, Madgen 13, Crosswhite 12)
New Zealand Breakers 62 (Bruton 18, Webster 11)
Crowd:4178 at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre