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Tasmania still needs three wins

SO what has changed? The Tasmania JackJumpers still need to win three games in the NBL Grand Final's best-of-seven series to claim the island's first championship since Launceston Casino City shocked the league in 1981. That was exactly where the JJs stood BEFORE Game 1 against the Sydney Kings at Qudos Bank Arena.

Losing it 78-95 to the overwhelming favourites was not a huge surprise - the Ants did go down by double-digits to defending and regular season champion Melbourne United in Game 1 of the semi finals too.

To claim such an unlikely and almost fantastical championship, Tasmania still has to win three games - most likely Games 2 and 4 at home - and pick one off in Sydney.

The last time a Tasmanian team won in Sydney was in 1987. That was when Dave Adikins was coach and Pat Whalen was assistant coach. Sydney was so upset, it bought Steve Carfino from Hobart the very next year!

Tasmania was looking in good shape in Game 1 when the halftime score was 40-43. But once the Kings broke the defensive shackles, they ran up a 15-point buffer.

The JackJumpers clawed it back sufficiently to force a Sydney time-out, then when Xavier Cooks - the X-Factor as we said he would be here - threw down a slam dunk through traffic, Sydney was going to claim a 1-0 series lead.

Some of the Jackies looked jumpy settling into this one but will have the steadying influence of coach Scott Roth ahead of Game 2 tomorrow at the sold out Anthill - MyState Bank Arena.

Sydney losing Jaylen Adams to a hamstring injury robs the Kings of the league's best player in 2022 but this squad is so talent-laden, the "next man up" mentality will come into play.

Ian Clark won't miss a beat and the danger here for Tasmania is it assumes Adams' absence will make Game 2 easier. It will not.

All of the Kings will be fired up and just as the absence of Melbourne star Chris Goulding didn't guarantee an easy ride in Game 3 of the semis, nor will this.

It would be a monumental mistake for the JackJumpers to believe their passionate and vocal home crowd, plus Jaylen Adams' absence, guarantees them of anything. 

They again have to get out on that floor and impose their game style on the Kings. Only 40 minutes of their noted defensive intensity will level this series.

So what has changed with Tasmania still needing to win three games for the title?

What has changed is Sydney is ahead 1-0 now and playing with the house money. The entire series will ride on this result alone.




 GRAND FINAL (Best-of-5)



GAME 1: SYDNEY KINGS 95 (Adams 18, Clark 17, Cooks, Vasiljevic 14; Cooks 11 rebs; Cooks 7 assts) d TASMANIA JACKJUMPERS 78 (McIntosh, McVeigh 14, Steindl, Adams 13, Magette 10; Adams 8 rebs; Magette 10 assts) at The Kingdome, Qudos Bank Arena. Crowd: 12,765

Kings lead 1-0

May 7

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