The Brisbane Bullets have claimed their maiden win of the 2021 NBL season by downing an injury-hit Sydney Kings 90-87 on Tuesday.
After back-to-back home losses to the Hawks, Brisbane (1-2 record) finally gave their fans something to cheer about at Nissan Arena by breaking their drought in the third-round clash.
The Bullets were staring down the barrel heading into the match, slumping to a 0-2 season start for the first time since 2003.
Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis was facing the sobering prospect of stumbling to a 0-3 record for the first time since his rookie year at the New Zealand Breakers helm in 2006.
However, American import Vic Law (27 points, nine rebounds, five blocks) and livewire guard Nathan Sobey (26 points, seven assists, six rebounds) proved too good for a Kings outfit again hit by injury.
Returning from a back complaint, Kings gun Didi Louzada broke down with an ankle injury in the third term.
"Given our lack of pre-season games and time together we are going to be figuring things out on the fly but today we saw some improvement," Lemanis said.
Kings coach Adam Forde couldn't hide his frustration as Louzada was helped off the court, joining an injury list that includes Xavier Cooks, Daniel Kickert and young guard Angus Glover who is awaiting scan results on a knee injury suffered in Saturday's eight-point win over Cairns Taipans.
The Kings' depth had already been put to the test at the start of the season after losing import Jae'sean Tate (NBA), Boomers great Andrew Bogut and captain Kevin Lisch (both retirement) in the off season.
The Kings (1-2) will now be sweating on an update on Louzada as they try and stick together after being forced to be away from home since Boxing Day due to COVID border restrictions.
Despite the setback, the Kings went down swinging on Tuesday.
Import Casper Ware (15 points) could have sent the match into over-time but his three-point attempt on the full-time buzzer fell short.
The Kings were led by former NBA Draft first-round pick Jarell Martin (26 points, 11 rebounds).
"We showed glimpses of brilliance and moments when we were outright terrible," Forde said.
Sobey and Law were standouts for Brisbane but bench centre Tyrell Harrison - the NBL's tallest player at 214cm - also impressed with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Kings enjoyed a 28-26 advantage at the first break before Law caught fire to help Brisbane lead 47-45 at halftime and 68-64 at the final interval.