Kings level series
The Sydney Kings have squared the NBL Grand Final series against Perth at one game apiece as veterans Andrew Bogut and Kevin Lisch inspired a turnaround in the series, the visitors winning 97-83 at RAC Arena.
On a dramatic day in sport Wildcats fans were locked out of the venue due to ongoing Coronavirus fears, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy advising that non-essential gatherings in excess of 500 people should be banned earlier in the day.
It meant the match was played in front of a couple of hundred family and friends instead of 13,000 fans, taking away the home crowd advantage for Perth in the process.
Sydney were the better team from the outset, Bogut having some clutch moments early as he dominated his match up with Miles Plumlee.
Nick Kay posted the first six points for Perth before Bryce Cotton got rolling, the season’s MVP dropping two big threes before the first buzzer.
The quarter belonged to Bogut though, with the Kings leading by 4 at quarter time.
Jae’sean Tate was having an impact as well for the visitors, while Kevin Lisch continued from where he left off in the game one, along with fellow veterans Daniel Kickert and Brad Newley.
Cotton and Kay were keeping their side in the game in the second quarter, Terrico White having little impact apart from dropping one long range shot in the opening half.
It appeared Sydney would have a nine-point advantage at the half, but Clint Steindl drained a long-range effort uncontested from the corner with the final possession before the buzzer, to give the home team some momentum.
But in an almost empty arena the spark was missing for Trevor Gleeson’s team, Bogut’s impact quelled by a resurgent Plumlee but youngster Xavier Cooks picking up the slack with some huge defensive rebounds.
Cotton again had ice through his veins as he dropped a three and then made it a four-point play after being fouled, the margin reduced to three points with a quarter to play.
The Wildcats talisman bizarrely started the final quarter on the bench, Sydney not relinquishing their advantage in the last as former Perth championship player Lisch dropped the dagger three pointer down the stretch to help his side square the ledger heading in to Sunday.
Tate also made his mark in a stunning performance, the all-NBL first team representative with a team high 20 points with Bogut and Lisch 19 points each.
Perth looked flat and failed to fire a shot in the last, losing to the Kings for the first time at home this season, needing to pick up the pieces ahead of game three in Sydney on Sunday.
SYDNEY 97 (Tate 20, Bogut 19, Lich 19)
PERTH 84 (Cotton 27, Kay 17, Steindl 12)
IMAGE: Bega District News.