Ex-Warriors Sharpshooter, NBA Champ Goes Full-on Heroic in Aussie Clincher

Ian Clark Sydney Kings Golden State Warriors

Getty Former Golden State Warriors guard Ian Clark, now of the Sydney Kings, cuts the net after his team's NBL championship victory.

When former Golden State Warriors guard Ian Clark was just beginning the latest chapter of his hoops career with the NBL’s Sydney Kings, there was already a level of familiarity with his new situation. And not just because his former Dubs teammate, Andrew Bogut, was the team’s co-owner and a driving force behind his signing.

Clark also observed some similarities between the Aussie outfit and the Warriors of yore in the locker room and on the court.

“I’ve only been at the Kings for two games, but I can see guys standing and cheering on the bench for every play, guys are hustling and getting on the floor and doing the dirty and little things,” Clark told The Daily Telegraph in February. “All of that plays a part in getting to where every team wants to get to be the last team standing.”

Flash forward to now and Clark has found another link to his time in the Bay Area — a second league championship, something that he played no small part in bringing to the Kings.

Clark Comes Up Big in Title-Clinching Win

Although Sydney entered the NBL Grand Final as the favorite, the team was dealt an incredible blow during Game 1 of the best-of-five series when league MVP Jaylen Adams went down with a hamstring injury. And while Clark came up short in his effort to make up for some of Adams’ scoring in Game 2, he was the very picture of a clutch performer in Game 3.

With their Finals lives on the line, the Tasmania JackJumpers came to play on Wednesday, winning the first quarter and entering halftime with a one-point lead. In the second half, though, Clark decided it was time to drop the hammer.

After scoring his first points of the contest on a three-pointer with just four seconds remaining in the opening half, the 2017 NBA champ went on to add 19 more to his total over the contest’s final 20 minutes.

The JackJumpers continued to own a slight advantage at 69-66 after three quarters, but Clark was there to help Sydney put the game out of reach by keying an 18-7 run during the final frame, Along the way, he nailed three triples over a three-minute stretch. Consequently, the Kings won the contest 97-88 and captured their first title in 17 years.

Clark finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting and five three-pointers. He also added three assists, two boards and a blocked shot in 32 minutes of play.

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Bogut Sounds off on the Clark Addition

Before the Grand Final tipped off last week, Bogut noted that the Kings’ in-season move to add Clark was actually something of a gamble during an interview with ESPN Australia.

“Ian Clark hadn’t played basketball in about a year,” Bogut said. “So, there was a bit of a risk with what we were doing and we just went through that with [former Boston Celtic] RJ Hunter. He hadn’t played basketball in a while and we brought him in… and he was kind of undercooked. His body just wasn’t ready to play professional basketball again.”

In the end, Hunter’s bad luck opened up the opportunity for Clark. And, clearly, Sydney’s decision to take a flier on another potentially banged-up American paid off.

“[Hunter] left and it ended up being a blessing in disguise for us. Not good for him, but then we had that same risk with Ian,” Bogut said. “I knew what Ian would bring on the court, but what a lot of people don’t know is what he’s brought off the court for us. He’s been huge for us in the locker room.”

According to the former No. 1 overall pick, Clark’s championship mentality permeated the team.

“Before the game, he’s staring into oblivion like he could kill somebody. He’s brought that attitude and I think he’s honestly been huge for us off the court as much as on. It’s been a godsend to get him.”


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