For the second time in seven days NBL sides Sydney Kings and Wollongong Hawks face off in a NSW derby. With Perth and Adelaide pulling clear at the top of the ladder Sydney are looking to cement their status as best of the rest, while the Hawks need to back up last week’s upset win in Wollongong if they are to keep dreaming of the finals.
Saturday night’s game at the Kingdome is the first of three consecutive home games for the Kings. However, based on their performance against the Hawks last weekend, they need to address basic errors in their game such as turnovers if they have serious sights set on the title.
The Kings have perhaps underestimated the intensity with which the Hawks view their local rivalry. You could argue that Sydney are looking at the bigger picture in the NBL, but they certainly need to lift their game this time around if they are to avoid a second shock loss.
The Kings have certainly been sounding bullish in the media this week with plenty of mentions about getting revenge, and coach Shane Heal and captain Ben Madgen have both been very vocal with their disappointment surrounding the loss in Wollongong. Sydney will be looking to get more from their star recruit Sam Young in what will be his first game in front of home fans at the Kingdome. It is clear he has not yet fully integrated into the Kings’ system, and Heal has said it will take time but that he is not worried by Young’s slow start.
Rotnei Clarke was again the Hawks’ star man last week notching 27 points. He picked up a minor knock towards end of the match but expects to be fully fit come Saturday. The Hawks are fully expecting big performances from the likes of Madgen, Young and AJ Ogilvy after they were kept quiet last weekend in Wollongong.
Saturday 14th December, Sydney Entertainment Centre 19:30
Sydney Kings v Wollongong Hawks