Championship defence for Kings still possibility

AFTER suffering a 106-95 loss to the Illawarra Hawks, the Sydney Kings’ championship defence is hanging by a thread.

Despite the 11-point defeat, played in front of the club’s second-biggest crowd of NBL24 (14,832 fans), the Kings retained the Adrian Hurley Cup for the second-straight season.
Illawarra ran out with a five-point lead, matched with force from Angus Glover and Jordi Hunter. The Hawks attempted to soar ahead, though the game remained tied thanks to contributions from Jaylen Adams, Hunter and Jaylin Galloway but they were left trailing by 14 at the end of the first.
Uninterrupted triples from Jonah Bolden and Valentine saw the gap closing and the Kings entered halftime down by 13 (59-46).
Hunter came with an early three-point play to put the Kings back on the board before DJ Hogg put up three to draw the gap to eight.
Valentine and Adams reduced the gap to seven with a minute left. However, further efforts were shut down, with Illawarra walking away with the win.
Valentine scored 21 points, four assists and five rebounds, with fellow import guard Adams adding 18 points, seven dimes, three boards and two steals.
Others to score in double-figures for the purple and gold Galloway (15), Hunter (13) and Hogg (11).
Mahmoud Abdelfattah’s troops, who are now 12-15, travel to South East Melbourne on Saturday to try and keep their season alive from 7.30pm.
A win against the Phoenix, combined with other favourable results by other teams, could see the currently seventh-placed Kings sneak into the postseason.