Boone ripped down 10 rebounds in the first half and finished with an impressive 17 point, 17 rebound double-double to lead United to a comfortable win after the Kings stayed competitive with the home team in the first quarter.
But with Boone controlling the paint and both Chris Goulding (23 points, six rebounds, three assists) and Casey Prather (21 points, four rebounds) taking turns in blasting away from long distance, an injury and illness-wracked Sydney couldn’t keep up with the Melbourne offensive juggernaut, who beat the visitors for the second time in 2017/2018.
Jerome Randle took to the floor suffering a bad case of the flu and lacked his usual spark while Perry Ellis manfully pushed through a shoulder injury that has limited him for the past couple of games, but he wasn’t his normal effective self, despite finishing with 16 points.
Regardless, it was the same old story for the purple and gold. Lacklustre defensive containment, poor execution offensively and not enough focus on slowing down Melbourne’s formidable transition game cost them time and again.
“The result was disappointing and I don’t think we played well,” Head Coach Andrew Gaze said afterwards.
“Some of our problems were self-inflicted and (Melbourne) beat us in a variety of categories.”
“Sometimes our defence was solid without being great, and sometimes it was poor.”
“Offensively, very little was coming from our structure. We’ve need to find a way to get better shots through our structure in order to help our defence.”
“We’ve got to get better in a whole lot of areas.”
The Kings trailed 49-34 at half time despite the best efforts of Ellis and Jeremy Tyler, who combined for 18 points in the first ten minutes after Brad Newley’s eight first quarter points kept the Kings in range early.
But with Melbourne getting whatever they wanted to offensively and Sydney collectively struggling to put the ball in the hole; United inexorably ground down the Kings, who lost their sixth consecutive game on the road to fall to 3-12 on the season and must now regroup with some crucial games to come at Qudos Bank Arena.
Despite the team’s current predicament, Newley was defiant in the post-game media conference.
“As far as I’m concerned, Wednesday will be the first time we’ve had a full list at training,” he said.
“We’ve got 13 games to go, and we’ve just got to leave it all out there.”
“The big thing is we keep believing in Andrew’s philosophies and I believe we can only get better.”
“As of Wednesday, we get back Kevin Lisch and Todd Blanchfield, we come back out on Sunday, and we’ll give it our best shot for the rest of the year.”
Coach Gaze echoed his player’s comments.
“I enjoy the fight,” he stated.
“I enjoy the battle. I enjoy trying to figure out a way to get out of this.”
“As long as my (backside) points to the ground, I won’t be quitting.”
MELBOURNE UNITED 95 (Goulding 23, Prather 21, Boone 17) def. SYDNEY KINGS 69 (Newley 18, Ellis 16, Tyler 13) at Hisense Arena.
Source: Matt McQuade (SydneyKings.com.au)