Magnay stars as Bullets upset Kings
Off-contract youngster Will Magnay upstaged an Australian basketball great as the Brisbane Bullets floored the Sydney Kings in an NBL shock at Nissan Arena. The 21-year-old came of age against Andrew Bogut and the league-leading Kings as the seventh-placed Bullets breathed life into their season with an 87-80 win on Saturday.
Brisbane's boilover snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Kings and gave the side hope of a post-Christmas lunge towards the top four.
Magnay has shown flashes of potential in the early stages of his career but this was a performance of substance when his team needed it most. With centre Matt Hodgson in foul trouble and matchwinner Lamar Patterson contained after quarter-time, Magnay stood up to the Kings' might with 23 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks.
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He was the dominant big, easily overshadowing Bogut and Jae'Sean Tate, the Kings star who promised much early before going quiet.
"He's a difference maker and a significant asset for our group," Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said of the power forward.
"They tried to go at him with Boges a couple of times and I thought Will did a nice job of accepting that challenge of making Boges' life difficult." Magnay's negotiations for an upgraded deal received a timely boost and it is likely he will have new terms agreed to within days.
His 33 minutes on court was the most he has played at this level, proving to his coach, his teammates and himself that he has the muscle and the endurance to go with the NBL's best bigs.
"It's exciting for me. I didn't play much last year and I had a good off- season," he said.
"Dre (Lemanis) pulled me aside and said we're going to start you and I thought 'This is pretty cool, I get to go against Bogut and Tate and hopefully play pretty well'." Sydney's Casper Ware was a huge threat and finished with a game-high 26 points but lacked the helpers to haul the NBL leaders across the line. Kings coach Will Weaver praised the Bullets for their improved shooting (42 per cent from the field) while lamenting his side's lack of poise. "This is a bit of a dip for us," he said.
The Kings looked in control when they led by 12 points early in the second quarter. That was before Magnay and Taylor Braun injected some crackle back into the Bullets defence.
Taylor dragged the Bullets back into the contest, frequently switching between difficult guarding assignments on Tate and Ware.
Meanwhile, Bullets swingman EJ Singler was seeking an after-hours dentist after losing a tooth in a collision with Kings forward Xavier Cooks.
BRISBANE BULLETS 87 (W Magnay 23 L Patterson 15 C Gliddon 13) SYDNEY KINGS 80 (C Ware 26 J Tate 13 D Kickert 12) at Nissan Arena