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Kings stars to lift for NBL semi: Gaze

Sydney coach Andrew Gaze is very confident his side can rally after a big loss to Melbourne and force a third and deciding game in their NBL semi-final series.

Kings stars to lift for NBL semi: Gaze

Sydney coach Andrew Gaze is very confident his side can rally after a big loss to Melbourne and force a third and deciding game in their NBL semi-final series.

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

Sydney coach Andrew Gaze expects a couple of his sharpshooters to lift in Sunday's make or break NBL semi-final, after they were underdone for the series opener.

Melbourne won 95-73 at home last Thursday and a victory in game two at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena will secure successive grand final appearances for the defending champions.


A Sydney loss would end Gaze's tenure, with the coach and club parting company once their campaign concludes.

With his team travelling back to Sydney on Friday, Gaze only had the one day on court to fix his side's problems before Sunday's do-or-die game.

"But these guys, particularly the veteran group, once they see it on the tape and they can see what we're trying to do and where we broke down, that can be enough to have a significant improvement," Gaze said.

"On our home court with our home fans and a different atmosphere, I still feel very confident that we can get the win and then go back on Tuesday and have another crack at it."

While Sydney's usually stingy defence was scorched by 13 three-pointers in game one, Gaze will also look for an offensive lift from his side, which scored just 49 points over the last three quarters.

Guard Jerome Randle tallied 13 points on five of 13 field goal attempts and notched just a single assist and rebound, while forward Daniel Kickert scored an equal season low two.

Randle didn't train much in the weeks leading up to the game due to a glute injury while Kickert missed some sessions because of a dose of influenza.

"Early on in the week he (Kickert) was really poor but he's feeling a lot better with a lot more energy, so he'll be better for it," Gaze said.

"Jerome will be better for the run as well because he missed two and a half weeks and only had a couple of practice sessions."

Gaze stressed he was looking for an improved collective effort from his side and his Melbourne counterpart Dean Vickerman was anticipating a much improved Sydney performance.

"I think any time you're in a win or go-home sitaution, everyone is going to raise their level,' Vickerman said.

"We did a a great job of keeping our bodies in front of guys on penetration, but if we drop off at all a level in those, they are going to go by us.

"They've got return of serve at home and we know it's going to be a good battle."

AAP


AAP




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