Longley keeps Sydney focused on NBL goal

Adrian Warren |

Australian basketball great Luc Longley says adopting a one-game-to-go mentality isn’t the right mood for the Sydney Kings as they try to close out a series sweep against Tasmania in front of a potential NBL grand final series record crowd.

Leading 2-0 in the best-of-five series after a dramatic win in Hobart on Sunday, Sydney have the chance to clinch their first title in 17 years on Wednesday night at Qudos Bank Arena.

Sydney will make a game-time decision on league MVP and star guard Jaylen Adams, who missed Sunday’s cliffhanger with a low-grade hamstring strain.

There is a suggestion the American might be held back for a potential game four.

Triple Chicago Bulls NBA title-winning centre Luc Longley has been working as a consultant with Sydney this season, making a number of trips east from his Western Australia home.

“One more game to go is not the mood,” Longley said on Tuesday.

“Another job to do, another puzzle to solve, keeping them from thinking that is the whole job at the moment.

“As soon as they get distracted by the bigger picture it will take away from playing the game.”

Longley’s mindset was shared by Sydney coach Chase Buford.

“They always say the last hurdle is the highest and we have to be ready to run and jump as high as we have all year,” Buford said.

“They are going to come out with nothing to lose and firing away so we have to be ready for a dogfight.”

Buford’s said he would leave the final decision on Adams to his medical team.

“I wasn’t expecting him to do as much as he did, so the coaching staff was pleased to see how he was doing,” Buford said.

JackJumpers coach Scott Roth suggested his side would tweak a few things rather than make any major adjustments to their game plan.

“We’ll continue to fight and tidy up a few things and see if we can eliminate a few mistakes and we’ll see what happens,” Roth said. 

“They are very talented and don’t give you a minute off defensively and we have to be better on that end.”

He said forward Jarred Bairstow would suit up on Wednesday after sitting out game two to get some extra recovery time from an injury.

Buford stressed the need to make life as tough as possible for JackJumpers guard Josh Adams, who torched Sydney for 36 points in Hobart.

“The more I think we can shrink the floor versus him, to make it tough, to make him see bodies when he’s trying to drive, it will be better for us,” Buford said.

Tasmania captain and guard Clint Steindl said there would be “zero pressure” on Adams to produce another big-scoring display.

“We’re going out there to have a blast, we’re going to fly around, we’re going to do a job and hopefully get it done,” Steindl said.