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R3 Preview: Sydney v Townsville

In a battle to avoid last position, Sydney Kings host the Townsville Crocodiles for the second time this season at the Qantas Credit Union Arena, with the losers set to lose touch with the front runners.  

In Round Two, the Crocodiles caused one of the first upsets of the 2015/16 season, stunning the Kings on the back of a Corey Maynard game-winning three, coming away with the victory of that same margin.

The Sydney Kings will be looking for redemption in this crucial early season match-up.

With the injured Josh Childress sidelined due to injury, once again, the Kings management decided to call in the reinforcements. A NBA veteran with over 1000 games experience in the Association and career earnings of over $90 million USD, Al Harrington is in the country and ready to help the Kings get their season back on track.

However, the Kings struggles have been bigger than the absence of Josh Childress, they are currently ranked last in field goal percentage at 39.4 per cent and the only team under 40 per cent this year. Furthermore, Sydney are currently shooting at just 27.6 percent from long range with Boston Celtics 2nd round draft pick and renowned outside threat Marcus Thornton struggling to connect from long range (7-from-35 at 20 per cent).

In order for the Kings to get back in the winner’s circle, they will be looking to Thornton to burst from his early season shooting slump and lead them on the offensive end of the floor. 

Townsville Head Coach Shawn Dennis will coach his 150th NBL game against the Kings after starting his coaching career for the Newcastle Falcons in 1997. Shawn is in his third year with the Crocodiles and will no doubt have his men fired up for the occasion.

If he gets the clearance, the match-up between new import Al Harrington and last year’s MVP Brian “King Conk” Conklin will be worth the price of admission alone - and with this being one of the final five games to be played at the Qantas Credit Union Arena, crowds should be keen to take in all the action.

BY THE NUMBERS

Head-to-head: 69 games played.

Sydney Kings: 36 wins. Townsville Crocodiles: 33 wins.

In Sydney: 35 games played.

Sydney Kings: 22 wins. Townsville Crocodiles: 13 wins

Previous meeting this year: Round 2 in Sydney: Townsville 80 def Kings 77

FAST FACTS

TOUGH TOWNSVILLE TASK - Townsville have beaten Sydney in six of their past seven meetings. The margins in those games have been 8, 9, 1, 5, 9, 7 and 3. The Crocs have also beaten the Kings the last four times in Sydney. That currently is their best ever winning streak in Sydney that dates back to 1993. Townsville’s current streak of four wins in Sydney is the best current win streak by any NBL team (including the Kings) at the Qantas Credit Union Arena.

POOR FORM - The Kings have won just one of their last 11 home games counting back to last year.

SMALL WINS - Both the Crocs wins this year have been by three points and both have been on the road. Townsville scored 88 points on Wednesday night in their loss to Illawarra, but it was their highest score of the year. They are averaging just 76.4 per game, (seventh) while the Kings rank sixth at 78.4 points per game.

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