Sport Basketball Kings sweep Hawks to reach NBL grand final

Kings sweep Hawks to reach NBL grand final

Jaylen Adams has carried the Sydney Kings to victory over the Illawarra Hawks in their NBL semi. Photo: AAP
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Newly crowned NBL MVP Jaylen Adams has underlined his status with a brilliant display to guide the Sydney Kings to the grand final series, courtesy of a 99-87 home win over the Illawarra Hawks.

Sydney trailed for almost all of the middle quarters, and by as many as 15 points, but Adams hit a series of big second-half shots to lead them to 2-0 semi-final series sweep.

He finished with a game-high 29 points, shooting 62 per cent from the field including four of seven long bombs.

His fellow imports Jarell Martin and Ian Clark added 23 points and 17 respectively with Xavier Cooks chipping in with 16.

Tyler Harvey scored 21 points and Duop Reath 20 for the Hawks.

Adams hit a clutch three-pointer with about a minute to play to give Sydney a five-point buffer which broke the Hawks’ resistance.

It’s the seventh time Sydney has made the grand final series and Chase Buford becomes the first of 13 Kings coaches to sweep his first finals series.

Sydney will play the winner of Monday’s game three decider between Melbourne United and the Tasmania JackJumpers.

Jaylen Adams is helped to his feet after draining a three-pointer. Photo: AAP

It was the first time since the first of his 22 consecutive NBL semi-finals series that Hawks coach Brain Goorjian had been swept.

The visitors led for just 35 seconds of the opening quarter, making the first bucket and the last, with a three-pointer to Justinian Jessup giving them a 23-22 advantage.

The Hawks held onto the lead for the entire second quarter, outscoring Sydney 31-22 to take a 54-44 advantage into halftime.

Sydney then outscored the Hawks 25-13 to lead 69-67 at three-quarter time.

A three to Dejan Vasilijevic gave Sydney a five-point lead, but the Hawks went on a 9-0 run to hit the front by four, before Adams then took over.