Sydney Kings coach Chase Buford wasn’t in the mood for questioning after his team’s game four loss to the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday.
The loss means the NBL Finals will now head to a deciding fifth game which will take place on Wednesday night at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena.
Watch Game 5 of the NBL23 Championship Series between Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers LIVE and FREE on ESPN on Kayo Freebies. Begins Wednesday 7:30PM AEDT March 15. Join now and start streaming instantly >
Buford was visibly frustrated after the loss and let his emotions get the better of him during his post-game press conference.
The Breakers dominated the Kings defensively, holding them to their lowest score so far throughout the finals series.
In the end that contest finished with a Breakers 80-70 victory in front of a record breaking 9742 fans inside Spark Arena in New Zealand.
But Buford took issue with what the Breakers had done in the lead up to the contest and believes it ultimately helped sway the contest.
After game three the Breakers raised issues with the officiating which saw them lose the foul count and shoot fewer free throws over their past six playoff matches.
On Sunday the Breakers won both. Shooting 26 free throws to 14 and winning the foul count 20-17.
A clearly seething Buford unloaded during his presser.
“They were allowed to get away with stuff they weren’t allowed to in the first few games,” he said.
“There was no freedom of movement. At one point, it was 11-2, the foul count, in the second half.
“We were playing five-on-eight out there. It was clear.”
The Kings coach told his players prior to tip-off the officiating discrepancy would be a factor on the day.
“We knew we were going to get hosed and we just said ‘we’ve got to weather the storm and stick together’ and I think we did a great job of that, to be fair … It was a big storm in the second half,” he said.
But it was when questioned about the physicality of the contest that Buford’s skin started to boil before he ultimately decided he’d heard enough and stormed out.
The Kings entered the contest with a chance to secure the NBL crown, but from the outset it was clear the Breakers were up for the fight.
A defensive masterclass saw them hold the Kings to 27 points in the opening half as they held a 12-point lead at the main break.
A third quarter fightback wasn’t enough as the Breakers held on to level the series and force it into the decider.
The fifth game will take place on Wednesday night in Sydney with the NBL crown on the line.