Hungry Jack's NBL
Tate Powers Kings Back to Form Over Sixers
Sydney Kings powerhouse Jae'Sean Tate has ensured his team remain atop the NBL ladder as they bounced back from a couple of losses to open 2020 with a 91-77 victory over the Adelaide 36ers at Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday.
Staring at their sixth loss in eight games and their competition lead under threat, the Kings rallied to win by 14 points and improve to 14-6 to remain ahead of the 13-7 Perth Wildcats in front of 9023 fans.
It was a remarkable opening to the game by Tate when the rest of his team were struggling. He attacked the rack for the Kings first three buckets and then stepped outside for a three on his way to 11 points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in the first quarter alone.
While his output for the rest of the game didn’t match those heights, the 24-year-old still filled up the stats sheet with 20 points on 9/12 shooting from the field, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks in a game-winning performance.
Tate had an inkling before the match the Kings were going to rebound from back-to-back
"I think as a whole, there was just an energy in the locker room that it felt like how we started, how we got to first place," he said.
"Credit to the coaching staff and the scout on what they did defensively, they just put me in the right spots to do what I do.
"Last game I didn’t shoot the ball well and the guys are still backing me, coach is still backing me to be confident, and that’s just a great feeling to know when you’re struggling, when you’ve got guys in your corner and know that they're 100 per cent behind you, that allows you to play more free."
Fresh off bringing up 200 games in the NBL and celebrating 100 with the Kings, Brad Newley (20 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal) produced an energised performance for the Kings.
Star centre Andrew Bogut added his sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 boards while being particularly hard to stop any time he caught the ball on the block. Casper Ware posted 12 points and six assists but his shooting troubles continued with 4/16 from the field and 2/11 from deep.
Playing against his old club, former league MVP Jerome Randle led the scoring for Adelaide with 24 points but he continues to struggle to get his teammates into the game.
Veteran big Daniel Johnson chipped in with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and Eric Griffin added 12 points off the bench.
Adelaide coach Joey Wright lamented his team’s inability to pressure the Kings on the scoreboard in the third quarter.
"The first half we went toe-to-toe, the third quarter they got going and got to the line quite a bit, and on the other end our momentum got broken and we didn’t knock shots down," he said.
"I thought out energy stuff was there, we just need to knock down a few more shots."
Tate and Randle had their own two-man game going early; Tate scoring the Kings’ first nine points, including a monster slam, and Randle posting the 36ers’ opening seven points.
The Kings led by two (25-23) after the first term and by five (47-42) at half-time after a Newley long bomb on the buzzer to complete a 6-0 run.
Experienced bigs Bogut and Johnson didn’t score in the first quarter but came to life in the second – Bogut contributing nine points and Johnson potting two threes in his 11 points for the term.
Adelaide hammered Sydney on the boards (29-19) and outscored the Kings in points from the bench (16-6) in the first half but were let down by shooting just 38 per cent from the field compared with the Kings’ 52 per cent.
That figure dropped to just 34 per cent for the visitors in the third term as the Kings restricted Adelaide to a paltry 13 points for the quarter as Sydney kicked out to a match-winning 73-55 lead.
Kings players Newley, Shaun Bruce (seven) and Xavier Cooks (six) also raised $1650 for the bushfire crisis after pledging to donate $50 for each point they scored in the match. Randle also donated $1200 from his 24 points and Anthony Drmic $300 for the six three-pointers the 36ers scored.
The Kings are again at home next Saturday against the in-form Cairns Taipans, who handed Sydney their first home loss of the season 109-98 in Round 10.
Saturday’s loss leaves Adelaide two wins outside the four and with a must-win home match against bottom-placed Illawarra on Monday to close out Round 14.
NBL ROUND 14
SYDNEY KINGS 91 (Tate 20, Newley 20, Bogut 13)
ADELAIDE 36ERS 77 (Randle 24, Johnson 15, Griffin 12)