R2 PREVIEW: SYDNEY V TOWNSVILLE

The Sydney Kings opened their season with showcase game against one of the League’s heavyweights, but they need to back it up tonight at the QANTAS Credit Union Arena against the Townsville Crocodiles.

The key factor for the Kings heading in Round 2 will be their consistency – an ongoing issue for the Sydney side, however their new roster brings hope to the Harbour City.

Last season consisted of a similar scenario – the Kings had won their opening game at home and were hosting a winless Townsville in Round 2. There is every chance history could repeat itself today, as last time the Crocodiles pinched the victory and went home happy that night.

The Kings have not won their opening two games of a season since they re-joined the League in October 2010.

It was little surprise that Townsville won at Sydney twice last season. In fact, they are the team that currently has the best winning streak of any club at the Kingdome, even better than the home side, and have won five of their past six games against Sydney.

This year might be different. Sydney showed star qualities last week by thumping Championship contender Cairns by 24 points – their biggest win at the Kingdome in five years, with the biggest swipe at the critics that assumed they couldn’t win without Josh Childress.

While Childress may still not suit up tonight, Julian Khazzouh showed his class with a dominant man of the match performance against the experienced Cairns front line that proved he will be a game changer for Sydney this season.

Jason Cadee also showed his pre-season shooting form was no fluke with a strong 19-points as a starter, but it was a true team effort with all nine contracted players scoring at least two field baskets each.

Townsville are in the second game of a lengthy road schedule that began on Sunday in Auckland. Their next stops are Cairns, Melbourne and Perth with no home game till Round 4, making it a challenge for the League’s youngest and least experienced squad.

Jordair Jett is the big addition to the Townsville guard rotation this year and he will get better as the season unfolds after recovering from long-term injuries, while Sydney native Mirko Djeric has had a great start to the year as the Crocs’ third leading scorer and leading three-point shooter.

To seal the win tonight, the Crocodiles will be looking to their leading man, reigning MVP Brian Conklin who led the scoring in all four games against the Kings last year.

“King Conk” has started the season well with 20 points per game and he will again be the main man for the visitors. Don’t miss tonight’s game LIVE on FOX SPORTS from 7:30pm AEDT or via the NBL LIVE app.

by Alexander Sanchez

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