Etching his name into the record books Dejan Vasiljevic put on an expert performance whenever the ball landed in his hands to earn the Sydney Kings their third consecutive win and first of 2023.
The Sydney Kings and South East Melbourne Phoenix have produced another amazing attacking game, less than a month after their overtime thriller in Melbourne where two players managed to score above 40 points.
Entering the game without star import player Derrick Walton Jr, Dejan Vasiljevic has stood up to lead the Kings to victory over the Phoenix. Finishing with a career-best 42 points, he was the key factor in their 118-102 win.
On his way to 42 points, Vasiljevic was on fire from beyond the arc, he hit his first threes on his way to ten makes for the game. He joins a prestigious list of Kings players who have managed to hit double figures in threes; Aaron Trahair and Shane Heal.
This etched him into the record books as his 10 threes are the most by a Sydney King player in the 40-minute NBL era, exceeding the previous record of eight set by Casper Ware in 2020.
Becoming the 23rd NBL player to ever achieve the feat of 10 threes, he tied the record for the third most in Kings franchise history. With this amazing performance, he becomes the only active NBL player apart from Bryan Cotton to manage this spectacular amount of threes.
“I give credit to my teammates and the coaching staff for finding me and obviously keeping me hot for the game,” Vasiljevic said post-match when asked about his record-breaking feat.
“I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”
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One of the main stars in the Kings championship run last season, Vasiljevic has played second-fiddle to Walton and Xavier Cooks. However tonight he has eclipsed his previous game-high by nine points.
Spending most of the fourth quarter on the bench, he may have had more points depending on his game time.
“It was clearly a night where DJ [Dejan Vasiljevic] right from the get-go kind of saw one go and you could tell he had a little juice feeling it and we did a good job finding him. He did a good job being aggressive and taking a bunch of ’em,” coach Chase Buford said.
“It was a game where we didn’t have Derrick, we need some more playmaking to step up and DJ did that with his scoring.”
Despite the loss, Mitch Creek once again shone for the Phoenix. The first player to 10 points, Creek was red-hot in the opening half scoring 22 points in 13 minutes. He ended the game with 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
Initially, it seemed like an upset was on the cards as the Phoenix ended the first quarter with the lead. However, it was not to be as they never regained control of the game.
Summing up the game post-match, Phoenix coach Simon Mitchell was in disbelief at the opposition’s attack prowess.
“Their performance from behind the arc was beyond ridiculous and they made us pay for every single error that we made,” Mitchell said.
The Sydney Kings will head back to Qudos Bank Arena on Saturday to face the Perth Wildcats.
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