Sickening stat a worry for Kings ahead of Hawks clash

Todd Blanchfield barely got a practice session in during the week after being floored by food poisoning courtesy of a dodgy pizza.

But even more sickening is the prospect of his Sydney Kings posting their worst start to a season in 26 years as they prepare for Sunday's must-win clash against Illawarra.

The Kings and Hawks come into the Qudos Bank Arena encounter with 0-2 records. Sydney haven't lost their opening three games since 1991 and can ill afford another defeat after losing to the Breakers on the buzzer in New Zealand on Friday night.

"That's the first I've heard of it - I didn't know about that," said Blanchfield of the unwanted statistic.

"Even if that wasn't the case, knowing the guys well now, we don't want to start 0-3.

"We're building towards a championship and even starting 0-2 isn't good enough.

"We'll have a good video session and address why we played the way we did after a good week of training."

Blanchfield was one of the stars for the Kings on Friday, scoring 15 points despite being levelled by food poisoning. The 26-year-old was only able to participate in half a practice session in the lead-up to the game.

"I ate something on Sunday night and was pretty crook," he said. "On Monday I was on the toilet from 4am and on the Tuesday it was coming from both ends.

"I didn't feel too bad during the game. Once I got going I felt all right."

The Kings overcame a 13-point half-time deficit on Friday to level the scores with 3.1 seconds to go, only for the Breakers to come up with the match-winning basket at the death.

The loser of Sunday's clash is in danger of falling out of touch with the competition leaders.

"Everybody knows what's at stake," Blanchfield said.

"We haven't had the start we wanted to, so that's something we need to address.

"We'll be ready for the Hawks, but they will be in the same position as us. They'll be just as desperate as we are for one.

"There's no excuse for us not to put a good performance on. If we play the way we know we can play, the rest will take care of itself."

Sydney coach Andrew Gaze has labelled his side's defence "deplorable", but there are other areas that will need improvement against the Hawks.

"Our first half was atrocious on the boards. We were down at halftime and we lost the rebound count by six.

"The second half was a dramatic improvement everywhere. It felt like we had each other's backs and the talk was a lot better. That had a major part in us being competitive on the defensive end."

This story Sickening stat a worry for Kings ahead of Hawks clash first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.