Sydney coach Andrew Gaze has heaped praise on dual Olympian Brad Newley after his starring role in the Kings’ 12-point NBL victory over the Adelaide 36ers.
Having averaged a career-low 9.3 points this season – against a career mark of 17.5 per game – Newley, 32, wound back the clock with a match-high 26 points (4-of-7 three-pointers) in his home state on Saturday.
The Kings have now won four of their past five and Newley will be pivotal to their hopes of returning to the play-offs for the first time since 2013.
“A lot of Brad’s ups and downs aren’t his fault; it’s our fault,” Gaze said. “We don’t put him in the right positions.”
“Whether he has 10 points or 30 points shouldn’t be an indication of how well he’s playing but sometimes that’s how it’s perceived.
“He was great (against the Sixers) … a big factor. Without Brad we don’t win that game.”
Gaze felt Sydney’s slick, unselfish ball movement aided Newley to be at his dangerous best, whether slashing through the lanes or spotting up from outside.
“Our offence was more systematic,” he said.
“We ran some stuff and just getting some motion really helped us.
“Brad was phenomenal, Jerome (Randle), Kevin (Lisch), the the rim protection that Boges (Andrew Bogut) provides … we got a good contribution.”
Adelaide-born Newley revealed Saturday’s match was the first time in a while his mother had attended a game at Titanium Security Arena, a venue known for being sometimes unfriendly towards visiting teams and a place where the Kings hadn’t won for 1094 days.
“It was important in a hostile environment like this to throw the first punches and in the past we haven’t,” he said.
“We came out on the front foot and I’m really happy we got across the line and got a good win in my home city.”