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Brisbane Bullets v Sydney Kings Game Preview

Brisbane Bullets v Sydney Kings When: 7.30pm (AEDT), Thursday 10 November Where: Brisbane Convention and Entertainment Centre Broadcast: NBL TV; Fox Sports; Sky Sport NZ Newley avenged Hoops fans around Australia, and indeed aficionados around the world, were surprised when Brad Newley was left off the Boomers team for the Rio Olympics. After playing at three world cups, two Olympics, in the Euroleague, ACB and NBL, Newley had proven himself time and time again. Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze suspects his gun recruit was out to prove a point when he racked up 29 points and eight rebounds in a big Round 4 home win over Brisbane. “Brad Newley was just superb. When he gets in that frame of mind, I think he’s got a little something in him when he takes on an Andrej Lemanis team,” Gaze said. “Missing out on Rio, I think that his eyes light up a little bit. It can go either way, he can get over anxious or he can do what he did tonight. “He had a tough, tough defensive assignment down the other end, and offensively when he’s in the open court or they switch and he gets in that attack mode where he’s attacking the bigs, it’s hard for them to stay with him. “He has this ability to get his shot off, he makes it look easy but some of those plays aren’t as easy as they look.” Building pressure Brisbane allowed the Kings to get into their sets too early, too often in that game, and their defence struggled having to guard long stretches of the shuffle offence and its multitude of screening action. Expect the likes of Adam Gibson, Shaun Bruce and Torrey Craig to up the disruption this Thursday night when the teams meet again in Brisbane to limit dangerous situations for the likes of Newley, Kevin Lisch, Jason Cadee, Josh Powell, Steve Blake and Greg Whittington. After watching his team allow the Kings to shoot 49 per cent, Lemanis knows the Bullets must be a more consistent force defensively, be that disrupting early or knuckling down late in the shot clock. “The defence has to be the constant and the offence will ebb and flow a little bit, but right now our confidence levels offensively impact our defence at times,” he said. “I thought in that third quarter, fourth quarter we built and got some stops, made them make some tough shots. Newley banked one, they made a couple of threes over a hand. “But when we got it back to about five, then just a breakdown where we try to go under a pin-down screen where Blake’s coming off and we give up a three-ball. “Then I think the next play after that there was another breakdown, a miscommunication on a guard-to-guard screen, we don’t switch and we give up a lay-up. That kills you. “We take those out, we continue to build pressure and we’re in good shape.” Take care The other significant factor in that game was the Bullets’ 10 first-half turnovers, which allowed Sydney to get their vaunted transition game going and establish a decisive half-time lead. The Taipans showed twice last round that taking care of the ball brings the Kings back to the pack, but Gaze was proud of his team’s ability to grind out a thrilling win on Monday night. “The work you have to do when you play that team on the defensive end is extremely labour intensive. You’ve got to guard them for 20 seconds every possession,” he said. “I thought our team stuck at the task, which is a difficult task.” The new Kings boss is well aware a similar challenge presents itself on Thursday night when they head to Brisbane. “They don’t use the ball quite as much, but they have a similar structure (as Cairns), they're schemes are similar to what we’ve had to deal with,” he said. Gaze warned his team they can’t afford to have the same slow defensive start they did in Round 4. “I thought we were real passive at the start, somewhat reactive and they were able to run their sets,” he said. “They run their half-court offence as good as anyone in the competition. They're extremely efficient in the way they go about it, they know where they're targets are going to be and what the destination is going to be in their sets.” Brisbane’s offensive approach has been clear, play with patience, get the ball inside and test how well opposition defences can guard the paint. Roller-coaster That appeared to breakdown in Sunday’s 86-70 loss to New Zealand – the Bullets shooting 26 per cent in the paint and losing the free throw count 35-17 – as frontcourters Cam Bairstow, Daniel Kickert, Anthony Petrie and Tom Jervis were thoroughly outplayed, however Lemanis is confident the system isn’t broken. “We got some good looks, our offence generated some good looks for us and I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball at times, and for whatever reason we just didn’t make plays close to the rim,” he said. With games against Sydney and Cairns this round, a four-game losing streak and some worries at both ends of the floor, the pressure is undoubtedly mounting on the Bullets, but Lemanis has been through many NBL seasons and knows the mindset required. “I think for us the important thing is we need to stay steady on the emotional roller-coaster,” he said. “We can’t too high on the highs and too low on the lows, and that’s throughout the game and throughout the season.”
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