NBL 2014/15 Round 9 Review: Kings knock-off Breakers in convincing home victory

The Sydney Kings have beaten top dogs New Zealand Breakers 82-69 in an all-round effort in Sydney tonight. Led by captain Ben Madgen (21 points 8 rebounds) and import Josh Childress (16 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists), the Kings pressured the Breakers into some poor shot selections, as the pulled away for an impressive victory. The New Zealanders only managed 18 points in the second half and finished a woeful 2/20 from 3-point range.

The Breakers did a good job limiting Childress on the offensive end, however the King's role players were too much to handle. Cody Ellis led the charge from the bench with 13 points. Cedric Jackson (9 points) and Corey Webster (11 points) struggled to get into any rhythm as the Kings did a great job defensively stopping the visitors' two primary weapons.

The game was close for the first 3 quarters, as both teams came out lethargic from the opening tip. Highlighted by Ekene Ibekwe's two blocks and 4 points, the low scoring affair was 19-18 in favor of the Kings after one.

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Heading into the second quarter, the Kings welcomed some production from Ben Madgen, who had 7 points whilst Josh Childress rode the pine. For the Breakers, Ibekwe was a terror all night in the paint and had three more blocks in the quarter. He would go on to finish with 15 points, 5 blocks and a countless number of shots altered.

The game was tied at half time, despite the Breakers having made only one bucket from long range and the Kings only shooting 37%. Thomas Abercrombie, who was returning from a quad injury, helped keep the Breakers in the game, as they were suffering from a lack of output from Jackson, Mika Vukona and Rhys Carter. The third quarter was highlighted by a guard duel between Madgen and Webster, scoring 15 points between them and treating fans to some deft shooting.

Two knucklehead plays by Ibekwe gave the Kings 6 straight points to finish the third. He fouled on a defensive rebound whilst in the penalty, and threw the ensuing in-bounds pass out of bounds - much to the dismay of Cedric Jackson. With Sydney up 59-51, Madgen, Perry and Ellis all hit big shots to extend the lead to double digits. The lead proved to be insurmountable away from home as the Kings held on for the victory.

The Breakers out-shot the Kings 41%-38% but were out rebound 48-37, a statistic which combined with their long range inefficiencies, made victory an up-hill battle. The Kings played with more confidence as the game wore on and head into next weeks game against the Wollongong Hawks ready to rumble. I am not quite ready to call them title contenders, but a few more victories like this will change my mind.

The Breakers head into round 10 with two tough games against Perth and Melbourne, yet they wont have lost any confidence as shooting days like this do happen and the refereeing tonight definitely favored the home team. To quote Webster after the game:

A bad day at the office!

This NBL season is full of surprises. Make sure you tune in!

Sydney Kings 82 (Madgen 21, Childress 16, Ellis 13)

NZ Breakers 69 (Ibekwe 15, Abercrombie 13, Webster 11)