Cooks beats Creek as Kings Crowned Contenders

Xavier Cooks had a massive game against Championship Favourites South-East Melbourne Phoenix (Photo: NBL)

Xavier Cooks put on a show as the Sydney Kings beat a dismantled South-East Melbourne Phoenix. The 92-87 victory for the ‘Hoops Capital’ put them back into championship contention as they now sit at a 50 per cent win record.

The key battle in the game was Mitch Creek vs Xavier Cooks. Two former Boomers with NBA aspirations that both play at the power forward for their respective sides.

Creek, more known as an offensive powerhouse. While Cooks is more known for his defensive efforts, being ranked highly in Defensive Player of the Year discussions.

The two went to war for the entire game, highlighted by their chatter throughout. But both showed out on both ends of the court.

Creek finished the game with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 32 minutes of game time. But it would be Cooks and the Kings that would take the W.

Cooks finished the game with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks in 31 minutes.

While the straight numbers does show that Creek had a better game than Cooks, Cooks did do more than what the box score says. Being a true rim protector and being able to change shots goes a long way.

Creek got those numbers on sub-par shooting however (7/23 or 30% from the field with 2/9 or 22% from the three), while Cooks had a much more respectable shooting night. Going 9/16 or 56% from the field with 2/3 or 66% from the three.

To quote Scott Steiner, “the numbers don’t lie”.

On the Mic

Sydney Kings Head Coach Chase Buford was asked about Xavier Cooks performance after the game.

“Xav’ was terrific… I’ve run out of words to describe X’s performance. He does so much for us on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Offensively. Changes the game with his energy, his playmaking.” Buford said.

“He’s a terrific player… We don’t win that game without ‘Xav’ playing hard and as well as he did in stretches.”

This victory for the Kings does put them back into NBL championship contention even though South-East Melbourne were missing some key pieces.

The Phoenix were missing star import Xavier Munford, Kyle Adnam, Cam Gliddon and their head coach Simon Mitchell. All of which were not available due to health and safety protocols.

Adam Gibson was signed as a COVID-replacement player ahead of the game, just so that it could be played.

While you could put an asterix on this game for both teams, considering the disadvantage South-East Melbourne faced. The Phoenix showed enough fight throughout the game to make it competitive. Even leading throughout stretches.

A win is a win however and the Kings now are right back in contention when a while ago, many were thinking that they won’t get close to playing finals.

The Kings now go onto play the Bullets, while the Phoenix play the JackJumpers. Both taking place on Sunday the 13th.

The NBL News podcast was joined by Jackson MacDonald this week to discuss all things NBL

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