Andrew Gaze slams his Kings after lacklustre display
SAME venue, same old flaws in defence.
Six days after New Zealand broke Sydney's hearts with a buzzer beater, the Kings failed to learn their lessons in a forgettable 17-point loss to the Breakers in Auckland on Thursday.
Once again, presence in the paint was Sydney's downfall.
The Kings' lacklustre defence opened the door for the Breakers to pile on the points, including a whopping 31 in the second quarter.
This paved the way for New Zealand to dominate Sydney in all facets of the game.
Of course the Kings are missing inspirational skipper and main defensive man Kevin Lisch with a torn calf, but their inside game has to be better.
Andrew Gaze's men looked lacklustre in defence at stages, allowing four New Zealand players to score double figures.
The Kings also lost the battle of the boards, 49-29.
The NBL season is just over a week old, but serious questions surround Sydney's ability on the defensive end.
There is no denying the effort is there, but the Kings' execution in the paint and on the boards requires urgent addressing.
Coach Gaze was bitterly disappointed with the loss, labelling it the worst rebounding effort he has seen in his brief time at the franchise.
"Our inability to stop any level of penetration was clearly evident," Gaze fired.
"The other alarming thing was on the boards, where we absolutely got obliterated. I mean, not just in a modest capacity, absolutely obliterated, and it was completely putrid.
"It has been a problem of ours for some time, but it was exposed like worse than my time at the club.
"That's the worst rebounding effort we've had. We've done a lot of work trying to improve it, but we have a lot of work to do."
Gaze also refused to defend his team's disappointing display, which was made harder in Lisch's absence through injury.
"Clearly it is a setback losing Kevin (Lisch), but we can't offer that as any sort of excuse for the performance that we dished up," he said.
"The things that we worked on and the problems we had last week, there was no evidence to suggest that we got any better.
"In fact, there is a lot of evidence to suggest we actually got worse."
In a positive, Sydney refused to give up when the scoreboard suggested otherwise.
They won the fourth quarter, but the damage had already been done.
Power forward Perry Ellis tried hard all night to lead the Kings' scoring with 16.
Fellow import Travis Leslie also chipped in with 10 points, as did veteran swingman Brad Newley.
New guard Jeremy Kendle performed solidly in his Sydney debut given he joined the team midweek.
Kendle isn't in the same league as Lisch, but he'll only get better with more time on the floor.
But in the end, though, the Kings were comprehensively beaten by the Breakers.
Explosive guard Edgar Sosa excelled starting for Kirk Penney, who came off the bench after his father passed away 48 hours earlier.
Sosa finished with 19 points, as did centre Alex Pledger to help the Breakers cruise to a comfortable win.
The Kings only have 24 hours to lick their wounds and prepare for the 36ers in Adelaide on Saturday night.