Twice as nice: Cooks, Walton jnr guide Sydney Kings to another NBL title

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.

In front of the largest NBL crowd in history – 18,124 – NBA-bound forward Xavier Cooks had his best game of the series to help the Kings fight back from 12 points down in the first half.

Sydney Kings players celebrate their series win over New Zealand Breakers.Credit:Getty

Cooks and Finals MVP Derrick Walton jnr finished with the plaudits, but the courage shown by bench guard Angus Glover arguably played as big of a role.

Battling a sternum/rib injury, Glover played through obvious pain, willing his side back into the contest in the final quarter.

The Kings have now won back-to-back titles in Chase Buford’s first two seasons as coach.

The win put paid to a Breakers fairytale – New Zealand spent the whole of last season on the road due to COVID-19 and finished bottom of the ladder.

On the move: Sydney’s Justin Simon takes the ball to the rim on Wednesday night.

On the move: Sydney’s Justin Simon takes the ball to the rim on Wednesday night.Credit:Getty

Sydney’s fifth NBL title comes after one of the closest championship series in NBL history – it marked only the fifth time a best-of-five series had been taken to five games, and the second time since 1997 the team that lost game one went on to clinch the trophy.

The Breakers were quicker to come out of the blocks and led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter as Will McDowell-White (12 points, eight rebounds), one of their best this series, called the shots.

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