New Sydney Kings coach to approach NBL over controversial call in Taipans loss

New Sydney Kings coach Adam Forde will seek clarification from the NBL over a controversial refereeing call that saw his side unable to make a last-minute comeback against the Cairns Taipans on Saturday night.

The Kings were trailing behind by just one point at Cairns Pop-Up Arena for their season opener before Casper Ware was fouled while attempting a critical shot with just two seconds left in the game.

The on-court decision ruled the foul before the shot which was confirmed by the umpire's replay centre. As a result, the Kings were handed a side ball instead of two shots.

The on-court decision ruled the foul occurred before the shot was taken.

The Kings were unable to capitalise on the side ball decision with just two seconds remaining, handing the Taipans the victory.

"One thing I probably make sure I do now, as I've gotten older, is to make sure I seek some fact and evidence before I run my mouth," Forde said post-match.

"So we reviewed it and we looked at it a couple of times, that's why I feel confident now that I would like to go to the NBL and find out how that call is managed.

"It's just disappointing it wasn't two shots."

The NBL's general manager of competition operations, Sean Gottliebsen, took to social media to explain the decision, but labelled the ruling a "tough one".

Gottliebsen said the foul was made ahead of Ware's crucial shot with two hands from Scott Machado on Ware before the ball was in his hands.

"Footage was clear, so a quick decision was made to confirm the on-court decision," he said.

Saturday night's game was the first game in the hot seat for former assistant Forde, who moved into Will Weaver's role with the head coach moving to the NBA.

"I feel like if that's the call halfway through the third, it's two shots. My experience would suggest that," Forde said.

"It was just an interesting call."

Throughout the game, Cairns’ strong roster proved too much for the new-look Kings on Saturday night, who were a very different line-up to last year’s squad.

Kings star Casper Ware attempts to get past Cairns’ Scott Machado.Credit:Getty

The Kings had 307 days between games to stew on their controversial loss of the grand final, and came into the game as the big underdogs after a lack of preparation time due to NSW border closures amid COVID-19.

The off-season had also not been kind to the Kings.

With former NBA No.1 draft pick Andrew Bogut and captain Kevin Lisch announcing their retirements and Jae’Sean Tate and coach Will Weaver moving to the NBA, the pressure was on star Casper Ware to lead the new-look Kings to victory in their season-opener.

But just one point down during the final moments of the game, Ware (18 points, two rebounds) proved unable to emulate Tate in producing a miracle basket, despite a stellar performance throughout the entire match.

The decision to rest the Kings’ biggest inclusion for the season, former NBA star Jarell Martin (11points, eight rebounds), also put the Kings at a disadvantage.

Ultimately the squad was not able to match Scott Machado, who finished his 31 minutes in the game with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Cairns were clearly not hurting too badly from the loss of DJ Newbill to Japan’s basketball league after being named the best defensive player in the NBL last season.

The Kings were eager to make a statement early with Craig Moller quickly finding his feet in a support role to Ware, who fired immediately after the first buzzer.

Electing not to include Martin in their starting five to limit his load, the Kings ignited upon his short appearance following the first time-out, to take out the high-scoring quarter 30-24. Despite Ware still managing to wreak havoc across the court, the Taipans were able to push into reply mode for the second quarter and close the Kings’ lead 51-50.

But scrappy play from both sides in the third quarter had the Kings land back into the driver’s seat heading into the final dance with a lead of 70-64.

In a final quarter that felt more like a play-offs game than a season opener, Ware simply wasn’t able to finish the game off with the Kings’ signature move of a final-second bucket.

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