In case you missed the excitement of the final of the 2023 NBL season, you missed a scintillating end to a thrilling championship series. With the title still up for grabs in the 5th and final game, it was the Sydney Kings who eventually came out on top to claim back to back titles.
The game was played in front of a huge NBL crowd of more than 18,000 in Sydney.
The roller-coaster ride of the finals
It was a similar story that ran through the entire championship series.
The Breakers were quick to jump out of the blocks, and led by as many as 11 points in the first quarter. They were working hard and able to muscle the Kings out of the paint and they were forced into taking low-percentage shots.
Something needed to happen and someone had to step up to make a difference. This is when Angus Glover took things to a new level and began one of the great performances of the occasion. His triple as the end of the second quarter approached provided the inspiration that the Kings were desperately needing.
He would finish the night with 12 points and nine rebounds, but the impressive thing was that he played through with an apparent rib injury.
Come the final change, the scores were all tied up at 56 apiece. The game was literally up for grabs.
The huge crowd of 18,124 - now the largest in all the NBL's history - was treated to a great finale to an enthralling end to the championship.
It was NBA-bound Xavier Cooks who stepped up with the best performance in the series to help the Kings crawl back from 12 points down and take out the game with an 18 to 3 run.
It was no surprise that Crooks was voted Most Valuable Player of the season.
The reign of the Kings
The statistics tell the story of the effective shooting with a higher percentage of successful field goals and free throws for the Kings. The most significant of them all was the rebound total of 40 to 33 in the Kings favour.
It’s interesting to note that the Kings won three titles in succession with 2003, ‘04 and ‘05 victories.
Having won the 2022 and now the 2023 season, could another treble be on the cards?
One thing’s for certain, the Kings will be hard to stop when the new season kicks off.
They already have the first of the new faces on the Sydney Kings' NBL24 roster when the club announced the signing of the exciting young wing, Makuach Maluach.
It will be interesting to see where things go from here for each club vying for the special talent ingredient to make their squads as strong as possible.
The growth in the NBL
Things are looking good for the Australian NBL.
As the quality, skills and excitement of the NBL continues to grow, so do the crowds in attendance. It is the only major summer sporting league to have increased average attendances. Numbers grew by eight per cent, and it was the fifth consecutive year of growth.
The buzz around the NBL is already kicking in with all the transfer market activity and the anticipation of another enthralling season.