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The Brisbane Bullets have beaten the Kings in a close finishing game with a four-point win at the Qudos Bank arena in Sydney.
It was not an instant classic but the game gave us what we all want which is a close tight finish, Brad Newley of the Sydney Kings missing a potential game-tying shot at the buzzer.
Sydney started off well but the Bullets made a run in the middle stages of the first quarter and never really looked back.
The Kings were in foul trouble for most of the first half and it showed with both big men in Aleks Maric and Greg Whittington spending a lot of time on the bench. With them on the bench Daniel Kickert and Tom Jervis were unstoppable down low while Torrey Craig was fantastic on the boards.
Reigning MVP Kevin Lisch was quiet in the first half but came out a lot better in the second eventually being the game’s leading scorer with 20 for the night.
The Bullets threatened to break the game open at a number of times, despite getting the lead out to 10 points at one stage Sydney just wouldn’t quit.
The Kings took the lead back midway through the 4th quarter but they never looked like they would push it out to a sizeable advantage, Brisbane responded strongly and eventually held on long enough for the win.
Sydney were boosted in the 2nd half not only by the play of Kevin Lisch but also Jeromie Hill who stood up tall when his team needed it.
The final few minutes were a flurry of baskets from both teams and when the Kings tied it up at 69 apiece you had a feeling they may be able to take out the game, however a technical foul called against the Kings zapped the momentum (despite Brisbane not scoring the free throw).
In the dying seconds the Kings had the ball on the sidelines, Newley inbounded the ball and then got it back for the game-tying shot but it clanged off and Brisbane were able to collect the rebound for the win.
Andrew Gaze will be feeling as little dejected after the close loss but he will take solace in knowing it could have been much worse.
Sydney Kings 73
Brisbane Bullets 77
The Sydney Kings will open their 2016-17 NBL campaign against the Brisbane Bullets on Saturday. Join The Roar from 5:30pm (AEDT) for a live blog of the game.
The NSW vs Queensland rivalry will continue in the opening round of the NBL season with the boys from the Sydney Kings facing a returning Brisbane Bullets outfit who are back in the NBL after being out of the competition since 2009.
The Kings will be opening their season in front of a home side while Brisbane will be facing their second game of the season and first away from home.
Sydney had a big off-season getting a new owner a new coach as well as a new arena, Sydney also scored big on the court by convincing reigning MVP Kevin Lisch to turn his back on the Hawks for the purple and gold of the Kings.
Brisbane have had to build their team from scratch and have managed to put together a very solid team including former NBA player and current Boomer Cameron Bairstow, along with former Wildcats player Jermaine Beal. The team looks set to be a surprise packet in the competition.
These two teams faced off in the preseason competition with Brisbane getting the early bragging rights in what was a hard fought 83-79 victory. Tom Jervis of the Bullets was the leading scorer in that game with Greg Whittington was the scoring leader for Sydney with 17.
With Sydney playing their first home game at the Qudos Bank Arena expect the stands to be rocking with Kings fans, however the Brisbane Bullets team has the roster to push Sydney all the way.
Sydney will have the home court and will be hungry to get a big win first up. The Bullets may be feeling a little worn out after their opening night game but that opening game should have knocked off most of the rust the players would be feeling after the offseason.
Brisbane by 3
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