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Sydney Kings out-hustled and out-muscled by Adelaide 36ers in NBL opener

A weary Sydney Kings suffered a second-half fade-out to lose their NBL season-opener 105-96 to the Adelaide 36ers at Qudos Bank Arena.

Six days after an exhibition game against NBA side Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, the Kings were out-hustled and out-muscled by Adelaide in the second half in Sydney on Saturday night.

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Shout out: Mitchell Cleek controls the ball against the Kings at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

Shout out: Mitchell Cleek controls the ball against the Kings at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Photo: AAP

Adelaide's win went some way to easing the pain of Thursday night's two-point home loss to Melbourne United in the opening game of the 2017/18 campaign. The Sixers built their win on Saturday on a strong work ethic under the boards, grabbing 26 rebounds to the home team's 12 in the second half.

Starring for the Sixers was former Melbourne United import Ramone Moore, who torched the Kings with 22 points off the bench and missed just one of his 10 shots. Daniel Johnson finished with 18, while American guard Shannon Shorter and captain Mitch Creek added 16 apiece.

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Brad Newley led Sydney with 24 and Jason Cadee had 16.

The pressure is on second-year Kings coach Andrew Gaze to mould a winning team after missing the finals last season. "We've gotta rebound," Gaze said. "We haven't got Mark Bradtke out there and we can say 'go get us 15 boards'. We have to do it by committee.

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"We were poor last season and it's a challenge that I have. We try different things and different drills, but we certainly have to figure out a way to solve that problem or it's gonna be tough for us."

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Sydney held an early 14-10 lead before American guard Moore scored seven quick points to spark the Sixers to a 26-22 quarter-time lead. With just under two minutes remaining in the first half, Kings rookie Amritpal Singh became the first Indian-born player to appear in an NBL game.

Singh angered Gaze by missing a defensive assignment but atoned with his first points moments later. Newley had 12 points in the second period and guard Kevin Lisch had seven, as Sydney built a 50-46 half-time lead.

The Sixers shrugged off a sloppy start to the second half – five turnovers in five minutes – to take a 73-68 lead into the final quarter. Sydney couldn't keep pace and trailed by as many as 11 in the fourth period.

"Jet-lag does effect you," Adelaide coach Joey Wright said. "Drewy [Gaze] won't use it as an excuse, but jet-lag is real. "We got a good lift from our bench tonight. Ramone was unbelievable. We feel one of our advantages is that you can't key on one person."

AAP

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