Direct route … Kings guard Aaron Bruce heads for the basket against the Tigers at the Entertainment Centre on Friday night.JUST about every every shot he put up went in like Flynn.
Jonny Flynn is an NBA player playing in the NBL. Anthony Mundine gave the Kings a pep talk on the eve of their clash with Melbourne Tigers but on Friday night Flynn was ”The Man”.
Corin Henry spent most of the game marking him but stopping the Tigers’ Flynn is a job for more than one man. The overall No.6 draft pick from the NBA season still managed 27 points, five assists and seven rebounds. He has done this sort of damage against better opposition during his 163 appearances in the Big Show.
The result was in doubt until the final seconds. Most Kings-Tigers games finish this way. There was only a point in it with less than a minute remaining but the visitors were more composed. Their revival, continues. All of a sudden the play-offs are a distinct possibility.
The Kings had a hero of their own. It might have been billed as Flynn versus Henry but it was Ian Crosswhite who hurt their traditional rivals most. The big centre was everywhere, draining buckets, blocking shots and pulling in rebounds. He even hit one from downtown in the dying seconds, and finished with 27 points and 10 boards.
The Kings came to the Kingdome in third spot but Melbourne had greater momentum. The visitors had won three of their past four while the Kings had slumped to three losses from four. This is not the form to bring into the play-offs – if they are to make them.
They did not need to look far for inspiration. Dean Uthoff, Sydney’s ”Man Mountain” during the League’s heady days of the 1990s, was just the seventh player to be honoured as a club legend. Uthoff wasn’t the only remnant from the period, with the hosts wearing their retro pinstripe jerseys as part of Heritage Round celebrations.
Things began to unravel late in the first quarter for the hosts. The Kings were up by three before the Tigers finished the period with two bombs. Worse was to come as they conceded 19 unanswered points.
Eventually the Kings regrouped, cutting the deficit to three before going into the main break down 41-36. Crosswhite was most responsible for a revival, with the Tigers struggling to contain the biggest body on the floor.
Flynn finished with six from 17 from the field but it was his 15-point second quarter that blew the game open. ”I was disappointed we let him get 15 free throws,” Kings coach Shane Heal said. ”He’s the sort of player you need to challenge to continue to make three-point shots, keep him out of the paint.
”I thought we broke down at stages on that. He’s a class player, you take your hat off to him.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.