The Sydney Kings defended their NBL title by defeating the New Zealand Breakers 77-69 in the fifth and final game of the championship series at Qudos Bank Arena last night.
In front of the largest NBL crowd in history — 18,124 — NBA-tied forward Xavier Cooks had his best game of the series to help the Kings fight back from 12 points down in the first half.
Cooks and Finals MVP Derrick Walton jnr ended with much applause, but the bravery displayed by bench guard Angus Glover arguably played just as big a role.
Struggling with a sternum/rib injury, Glover played despite obvious pain and forced his side back into contention in the final quarter.
The Kings have now won back-to-back titles in Chase Buford’s first two seasons as coach.
The win paid off for a Breakers tale – New Zealand spent the entirety of last season on the road due to COVID-19 and ended up bottom of the rankings.
Sydney’s fifth NBL title comes after one of the closest championship streaks in NBL history — it was only the fifth time a best-of-five streak was extended to five games and the second time since 1997 that the team, who lost the first game went on to lift the trophy.
The Breakers got out of the blocks faster and led by as much as 11 points in the first quarter when Will McDowell-White (12 points, eight rebounds), one of their best of the series, called the shots.
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/twice-as-nice-cooks-walton-jnr-guide-sydney-kings-to-another-nbl-title-20230315-p5cshs.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Xavier Cooks stars as the Sydney Kings beat the NZ Breakers 77-69 to win the Grand Finals series