THE Sydney Kings finally got off the mark with a win last Sunday but it did come at the expense of their All-star guard, Kevin Lisch.
Lisch suffered a torn calf that will see him sidelined for up to two months, forcing the team to sign import guard Jeremy Kendle as a replacement.
While Kendle will take time to adjust to his new surroundings the fact is he is a natural scorer who will almost certainly find ways to score.
Scoring however hasn’t been an issue for the Kings – it’s preventing points down the other end that is of greater concern for Andrew Gaze’s side.
The good news for the Kings is they have shown improvements on the defensive side of the ball. The bad news is that they’re once again travelling across the Tasman – something that is bound to take it’s toll on the team.
This is the fifth game in 16 days for Sydney, who have racked up over 30,000 kms travelling from Sydney to Utah, and then a couple back-and-forth’s across the Tasman.
While the players will no doubt be readied physically there’s certainly a lot of mental fatigue to factor in when dealing with this one.
Defensive lapses have been a common theme for Gaze’s side this season, and while they’re adamant they’ll get things right it’s obvious that travel and fatigue are catching up with them.
Kirk Penney was near unstoppable the last time these team’s met and the Breakers will be looking for similar production from him in this one.
He scored 25 points and shot at 70% from the field last game, and it’s the threat that he and teammates Tom Abercrombie & Edgar Sosa possess from the perimeter that pose the biggest threat to the Kings.
If things start dropping from deep early Sydney will have trouble dealing with the rotation on defence, with the Breakers more than happy to take advantage of their size inside the paint.
The home side are well-rested heading into this one and it’s hard to see how they’ll be outscored by a tired Sydney team missing a former MVP at point.
Expect the Breakers to force the tempo and take advantage of a Sydney team that will likely be vulnerable early on with a new captain steering the ship. We have the Breakers winning this one almost 69% of the time, and doing so by a 5.4 point margin.
Tip: New Zealand Breakers -1.5 $1.90