Kings feared worst with injured Lisch
Photo Source: AAP
Sydney coach Andrew Gaze feared the worst when Kings linchpin Kevin Lisch crumpled to the floor with a head injury in Saturday night's 92-78 home win over the Cairns Taipans.
A dazed and bloodied Lisch was helped from the court by medical staff after a collision with Cairns forward Mark Worthington late in the third quarter.
The 2015-16 NBL MVP subsequently passed standard concussion tests but received four stitches to a cut in his left ear.
It was the second time in the game that Lisch had copped an accidental knock to the head, after colliding with 127kg Taipans centre Nate Jawai in the opening quarter.
The Kings boosted their record to 2-1 with Saturday night's win and face the New Zealand Breakers on Thursday night in Auckland.
It remains to be seen if Lisch is cleared to play, but Gaze was just relieved his star guard didn't end up in hospital.
"It was scary," said Sydney's rookie coach.
"Regardless of whose team it is you don't want to see a guy get hit like that.
"My heart skipped a beat when I saw him on the floor. Then you see blood pouring out of his ear, it wasn't pleasant."
Sydney's Jason Cadee picked up the slack with Lisch out, pouring in 17 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth period after the home team trailed 66-65 at three-quarter time.
Import Greg Whittington (21 points, nine rebounds, four steals) also led the way for Sydney.
Newly-acquired import Josh Powell was hot and cold with eight points, seven rebounds and five turnovers.
The two-time NBA champion is already earning a reputation as an enforcer after tangling with Illawarra Hawks guard Kevin White last Thursday and earning an unsportsmanlike foul on Saturday for shoving Worthington early in the fourth quarter.
"Josh got a little agitated. It was just heat of the moment stuff," Gaze said.
"There's a big target on him with his reputation and guys are going to try and niggle him and suck him into something.
"He's going to defend himself and from what I've seen he'd be very good at defending himself.
"He's intimidating, he's got a presence about him. He's big, he's powerful.
"We just have to make sure he doesn't get baited."
The Taipans lost in a heartbreaker in overtime to titleholders Perth in round one and were well-placed to beat the Kings when they led by seven midway through the third quarter.
"It hurts," Cairns guard Cam Gliddon said.
"We could've stolen this one and stolen last week's game in Perth. To let it get away was disappointing."