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Buford not worried with JackJumpers love

Sydney Kings coach Chase Buford isn’t concerned with the national love being received by the Tasmania JackJumpers ahead of Friday’s Grand Final opener.

The JackJumpers enter the Grand Final as sentimental favourites for many, with the Kings looking to spoil the party of the first-year club.

Buford doesn’t mind his team playing spoiler, saying he feels Sydney has had a target on its back all season.

“I think we felt like that a lot of the year. Seems like a lot of people line up to knock us down, but we're not worried about the narrative or anything like that,” Buford said.

“We just want to come out and play our basketball against a really quality opponent. Whatever everybody else outside the white line says we're not too concerned about.”

The Kings boast one of the league’s hottest offensive units, with MVP Jaylen Adams leading the way. He is surrounded by weapons including Ian Clark, Jarell Martin and Xavier Cooks.

On the other end, Tasmania has built its success off the back of a physical and tough defence, and Buford is wary of not getting bogged down in the JackJumpers’ preferred style.

“We'll have to match every bit of their energy levels to have a chance, they're going to play super hard,” Buford said.

“We like to pride ourselves as a hard playing bunch and I think we've shown that throughout the year.

“We can't come in and try to get locked up in the physicality and the rugby style that we saw with them and Melbourne.

“I think that's the tempo of the game, that's the pace and the style that they want to play at.

“We're a more free flowing offence and we need to play with pace, so they can’t crawl up into us and make it a rugby match.”

Game 1 of the best-of-five Grand Final series between Sydney and Tasmania tips-off at 7:30pm AEST on Friday at Qudos Bank Arena. The game will be broadcast on ESPN and Kayo Freebies.

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