Hungry Jack's NBL
R13 Preview: Sydney v Cairns
Who: Sydney Kings v Cairns Taipans When: 7.30pm (AEDT), Saturday 2 January Where: Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre Watch: Fox Sports; Sky Sports NZ; NBL Live App; 9Gem (Sunday, 3pm) Last time they met: Cairns 101 (Craig 20, Starks 18, Loughton 12) d Sydney 83 (Brandt 16, Garlepp 16, Khazzouh 14), Round 9, Cairns Convention Centre
Childress slams it home for two! #HardBall @SydneyKings @MelbUnitedHQ https://t.co/OGiRnCyO9z — NBL (@NBL) December 30, 2015Childress made an impressive return last Wednesday to post 27 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and three assists against Melbourne, and the Kings will be a different team if he can stay healthy over the final nine games. Cairns fought their way to a tough home win over New Zealand on New Year’s Eve despite the absence of Markel Starks and Stephen Weigh, repeatedly answering the long-range challenges of Corey Webster. Torrey Craig had one of his best games as a Taipan, Shaun Bruce was outstanding as a starter, Mark Worthington and Cam Gliddon produced high-IQ displays and the team’s willingness to fight defensively was the best it’s been all season. “That fight, desire, that tightness as a group that they display at home – their next challenge is to show that on the road in hostile environments,” coach Aaron Fearne said. Let's get the party started #HardBall @CairnsTaipans @NZBreakers https://t.co/YecoBJxM3N — NBL (@NBL) December 31, 2015 For the Kings, after two loud home crowds the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre is shaping as that hostile venue they have been without for many years. “I love it,” coach Joe Connelly said. “In here you can feel the energy from the crowd, especially when we got on some runs, so I think this is going to turn into a home-court advantage for us.” The other positive for coach Connelly is the continued outstanding form of Tom Garlepp, and he used his captain’s play as a not-so-subtle message for some of the team’s streaky members. “We’re not getting consistent play from some of our players. Some of our guys are coming out every night and we know what we’re getting. I’ll use Tommy as an example,” he said. “Consistently we know we can count on Tommy to score and rebound.” THE WRAP The Kings’ defence continues to leak points at an alarming rate. They haven’t kept a team below 80 since Round 3, and have conceded 94.4 points per game in the past two months. Sydney haven’t won when conceding 85 points or more, but with Childress back and in form they finally have the rebounding and scoring power to win high-scoring contests.
.@JChillin cleans up the mess with a two hand putback jam for the @SydneyKings! #HardBall https://t.co/vxcDyEKBZF — NBL (@NBL) December 30, 2015Cairns came into Round 13 allowing 50 per cent shooting from inside the arc, but swarmed the paint to restrict New Zealand to just 66 points at 40 per cent from inside. With Tom Abercrombie missing the Breakers couldn’t make them pay, and Saturday’s game could come down to whether Jason Cadee, Rhys Carter, Marcus Thornton and Angus Brandt can convert the shots Childress’ penetration creates.