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Kings liberated by ending Melbourne hoodoo

Ending a 10-game NBL losing streak against Melbourne United was a mental hurdle that Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze is delighted to have cleared.

Kings liberated by ending Melbourne hoodoo

Ending a 10-game NBL losing streak against Melbourne United was a mental hurdle that Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze is delighted to have cleared.

Head coach ANDREW GAZE of the Sydney Kings looks on during their game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Head coach ANDREW GAZE of the Sydney Kings looks on during their game against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. Picture:Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images

Andrew Gaze says ending their cursed run against Melbourne United as given his Sydney Kings a mental boost ahead of the NBL play-offs.

The Kings spiked a 10-game losing streak with Friday's 97-85 win in Sydney to reclaim the league lead with a 17-9 record and demoted the defending champions to the same 16-9 tally as the Perth Wildcats.


With a rapid-fire road trip to Perth on Sunday confronting his team and a last week of games to follow, Gaze knows the Kings' play-off ranking is far from decided.

However the nature of the tense triumph against his arch-rivals left Gaze confident his team are ready to deliver their best in the post-season.

"Obviously the higher finish, the better chance you have but as we prepare for the finals, it's about the way we play," he said.

"Against a team like Melbourne, who had beaten us the last 10 times, it was a good mental hurdle as well.

"It's not as if they just weren't at their best. I thought defensively, when needed, we were able to crank it up a notch."

The Kings composure down the stretch after Melbourne closed the margin six points in the final quarter delighted Gaze.

Centre Andrew Bogut produced big plays at both ends from that point to finish with 15 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals.

However Gaze has always said it can't just be the Bogut show if they're to win a first title since 2005.

Jerome Randle (21 points ) and Daniel Kickert (18) carried an offensive load, Kevin Lisch marked United dangerman Chris Goulding doggedly while Brian Bowen gave another glimpse of his potential off the bench.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman praised Sydney but said victory swung on simple turnovers from his team which gifted the hosts an 11-point second quarter run.

He hopes he'll get some payback for those mistakes when they meet the fourth-placed 36ers in Adelaide on Sunday.

"I hope we're a little bit pissed off about that game tonight because we made some errors," he said.

AAP


AAP




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