Sport Sydney Kings beat Hawks in NBL overtime

17:12  24 april  2021
17:12  24 april  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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A depleted Sydney Kings have captured their best form of the NBL season after claiming a dramatic 79-75 overtime victory over the Illawarra Hawks.

Casper Ware holding a basketball: Sydney's Casper Ware scored a team-high 18 points in the Kings' road-win against Illawarra Hawks. © Hamish Blair/AAP PHOTOS Sydney's Casper Ware scored a team-high 18 points in the Kings' road-win against Illawarra Hawks.

Hawks forward Justin Simon helped his team fight back from 14 points down on Saturday night when he claimed a clutch steal in the final minute to force the extra period.

However the Kings executed enough plays down the stretch, including a game-sealing triple from big man Craig Moeller to seal their season-high fourth straight win of the season.

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Kings star Casper Ware led his team with 18 points, improved centre Jordan Hunter double-doubled with 16 points and 11 rebounds, to go with his two blocks  and Shaun Bruce had 13 rebounds.

For Illawarra, centre Sam Froling led all scorers with 22 to go with his 12 rebounds, import Tyler Harvey added 18 points and seven boards while guard Emmett Naar dropped 12 dimes.

Simon stuffed the statistics sheet with 16 points, seven rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

It was yet another determined from a Kings team, already without two starters in Xavier Cooks and Angus Glover, who lost Next Star swingman Didi Louzada to the NBA last week.

Yet rookie coach Adam Forde continues to squeeze out plenty of juice from his undermanned roster, with the victory consolidating third spot on the table.

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His team were on the wrong side of almost every statistical category at WIN Entertainment Centre, but found a way to emerge victorious in overtime through their big man.

"That is what you take into, hopefully finals basketball," Forde said.

"(These are) the things that you can relate to when you're in a hostile environment, so your backs are against the wall, the crowd's against you and momentum is in the opposition's favour.

"How do you knuckle down and get the win? We can reference back to that, what we did tonight."

The Kings took control of the contest with a 25-18 second quarter, riding the hot hand of Ware and Hunter to be up by six at the main break.

And while they held the lead for most of the second half, Sydney were unable to pull away, with a stubborn Illawarra staying close until Simon's dramatic seal and lay-up in the final minute.

"I'm disappointed, everybody wants to win. But I'm proud of them. I don't think they made any mistakes down the stretch that were controllable," Hawks coach Brian Goorjian said.

"Tyler's last shot didn't go in … those things that you need in an overtime when you're depleted like we are.

"We're still in this thing, there's a lot of things to grasp tonight for the way forward."

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