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Kings hold Blaze at bay

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

February 09, 2008 12:00am


SYDNEY Kings held off a determined Gold Coast Blaze for a thrilling 88-81 NBL victory at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre last night.

The Kings were not troubled until the dying minutes of the game, when the Blaze reduced a 15-point margin at the final break to get within two points with three minutes to play.

But the ladder leaders showed no signs of panic and steadied for a seven-point win, their fifth in a row.

The Kings' season now stands at 24-3 with three more games to play after they ensured the minor premiership last week with a win over Wollongong.

More NBL results: See our basketball section

The Blaze, who failed to give Brendan Joyce something to celebrate in his 400th game as coach, are now 15-13.

Kings coach Brian Goorjian said his aim was to keep his team playing intense basketball for their remaining three games, given they know they will finish the season in top spot.

"I thought tonight was a great game for us, as far as making the guys aware of what we need to get better at and what can happen if we don't," he said.

Buoyed by their win over Adelaide on Sunday, which ensured a finals berth in their debut season, the Blaze were impressive in the first quarter but were let down by fumbles, falls and wide shots, which also plagued the Kings.

But Sydney held the lead throughout the game, 24-18 at the first break and extending it to nine points at the main break, 40-31.

The Kings again dominated in the third, going into the final quarter 64-49 before the Blaze turned up the heat.

A flurry of shots in the last minutes of the game got the NBL's newest franchise to within two points of the competition's best side, including seven final quarter three-pointers which had the boisterous home crowd on their feet.

But the Kings held their ground, snatching back the momentum thanks to Mark Worthington, who was his side's best contributor with 18 and Dontaye Draper (12).

Goorjian said he had always expected Gold Coast to come back into the game, which had Blaze coach Joyce satisfied with their performance.

"The young guys did a good job, just overall I think the team showed a lot of ticker to get back in the game," Joyce said.

"Someone said highs and lows, as if tonight's low, (but) the way we come back from 20 down was pretty impressive."

James Harvey again starred for the Blaze, shooting a game-high 23 points which included six three-pointers.

Harvey said the performance showed they had what it takes to compete in the finals.

"The good thing for us was we've had probably our worst half of the year in so many areas, we turned the ball over we shot poorly," he said.

"We can beat (Sydney) and I think we showed that tonight, (and) if we didn't have the horror first half, who knows what might have happened."

SYDNEY KINGS 88 (M Worthington 18 D Draper 12 J Smith 12) GOLD COAST BLAZE 81 (J Harvey 23 C Frank 13 J Crowe 12) at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre. Crowd: 4,612.


Kings hold Blaze at bay
Stepping out ... Sydney Kings' Luke Kendall runs away from the Blaze's James Harvey. Photograph: Fiona Harding

Have Your Say

Latest Comments:

Another day, another loser. Tonight the Slingers are gonna cop it too. Kings all the way. Take that to the bank.

Posted by: ryan cairns of st ives, sydney 8:56am February 09, 2008

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