Kings guards take Hawks attack out of game


Like any bloke in charge, Shane Heal loves it when a plan comes together.

The Sydney Kings coach was confident he had mapped out a blueprint for success last Friday against Wollongong and his tactics paid off in a 65-51 triumph.

The Hawks went into the game with a perfect 5-0 record and had beaten opponents by an average margin of 15.6 points.

But after going down to Wollongong by three in round one, the Kings pushed all the right buttons on Friday.

Heal later described how his team brought down their NSW rivals.

"When you press, a lot of people think you're pressing to get steals, but you're not always doing that. You're trying to do things to change the tempo of the game," he said.

"Our guards and our second-line guys in our press were fantastic. We did disrupt Wollongong, but we did that by not getting into rotations.

"What they do to teams is that they penetrate a lot and then you help and then Oscar Forman hits shots. Between Oscar Forman and Larry Davidson they [made] 2/12 [shots], so you take guys like that out of the game.

"They rely on other people to create for them. They're not guys that are just going to go and score themselves, and when you do a good job of containing the ball like our guards did, it really translates."

The Hawks are in second spot with a 5-1 record, while the Kings climbed to fifth with a 4-4 record.

"Who's saying they're not going to lose a couple in a row now? That's how tight this league is," Heal said.

"To be able to hold a team that's shooting 48 per cent and averaging 81 points per game to 31 per cent and 51 points, it was all our defence."

Kings guard Aaron Bruce (six points, 2/10 shooting) didn't have a great offensive night but his defence on Hawks leading scorer Adris Deleon was instrumental in the win.

"He's the best defensive guard in this competition and I challenged him during the week," Heal said.

"He had to take somebody who was hot and held him to 2/13 shooting. He did a tremendous job to set the tone for us."

Sydney looked in trouble when they fell behind 16-8 after five minutes against Wollongong.

But with American guard Corin Henry leading the way, the home side shut the Hawks out of the game.

"The first five minutes they scored 16 points and when I called a time-out I thought my head was going to explode," Heal said.

"For the next 35 minutes it was exceptional, and the challenge for us now is that we've set a standard of what we can do ... individually and collectively ..."


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