Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze is treating Sunday's do-or-die clash with Melbourne United as a 'beautiful opportunity' to overcome a horror start to their play-off campaign.
The Kings are on the brink of elimination from the NBL championship race after a crushing 22-point loss in their semi-final series opener against Melbourne United.
"In these types of series, it's a significant setback to lose in the way we have done," Gaze said following United's 95-73 victory at Melbourne Arena on Thursday night.
"But provided you keep it in perspective and you look at all the body of work that you have done, we say hey, this is a bad one and we cop it on the chin but it's how you respond.
"These are beautiful opportunities to test yourself, test the group and test your character and I personally love it.
"It becomes more meaningful based on what we've done today to say we'll turn this around and then you've done something extraordinarily significant."
Gaze was clearly disappointed with his side's offensive woes in the first half, United piling on 28 points to Sydney's 11 in the second quarter to swing the match in their favour.
However, he remained optimistic they could turn it around to force a deciding game three in Melbourne on Tuesday.
"I look at it as opportunity mixed in with the disappointment ... how we deal with that disappointment is going to go a long way to saying what sort of performance we are going to put out there on Sunday," he said.
Sydney's ability to restrict United's perimeter shooters will go a long way towards levelling the series after Casper Ware and Chris Goulding each landed five three-pointers to inspire the home side.
"Our goal was to keep them to seven three-pointers or less - they had six in the first five minutes," Gaze said.
"We were behind the eight-ball very early on and if they continue to make 14 or 15 threes ... they are hard to beat."
Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman felt his squad look refreshed after a break leading into the finals but knows they need to stay engaged as the Kings look to respond in game two.
"I think any time you are in a win-or-go-home situation, everyone is going to raise their level and from what I understand, they are going to have an amazing crowd there for that first play-off game," Vickerman said.
"We expect a totally different level of play from all of their guys.
"We did our job ... they've got return of serve right now at home and we know it's going to be a battle."
Australian Associated Press