If Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze was trying to shift the focus away from Andrew Bogut, perhaps he forgot to tell the former NBA star.
For it was Bogut who set the tone before his teammates came running as the Kings ended their NBL slump with a rousing 87-81 win against the fourth-placed Bullets at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
The giant centre produced a block, a basket and an assist in the first 90 seconds and finished with 20 points and seven rebounds in his 36 minutes.
"If his form is down or he gets into foul trouble, we've got to make sure we don't just leave some of those assignments to him," Gaze said.
"He had an unbelievable game. I looked at the stats and he had seven rebounds but that undersells what he did."
The Kings were criticised for their attitude under pressure during the week and had to survive a late rally before Bogut, Jerome Randle (15 points, seven assists) and Kevin Lisch (12 points) steered them home.
Daniel Kickert also stepped up to ease the pressure on Bogut with 17 points.
Sydney had everything to play for. After two straight losses their resilience, not to mention their pride, had been questioned and another two-game slip could have seen them tumble from equal first out of the top four.
It was basketball worthy of the playoffs, with Bogut and Cameron Bairstow (23 points) standing toe to toe.
Bairstow's teammate, a bloodied Matthew Hodgson, paid the price of a willing contest with a gash to his cheek.
Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said his side got bogged down offensively, committed too many turnovers (15), blew some defensive assignments and settled for too many three-point shots (nine from 31).
"This one stings us all a little bit,'' he said.
"This is the second time we played Sydney when we haven't played as well as we think we should play.
"It's something about the game that just didn't have a rhythm or a Bullets brand on it so when you don't play the style and the brand that you think that you are, you always feel like that is perhaps one that got away.''
The Bullets' offence broke down during the third term yet they were still in touch at three-quarter time.
Both teams play again on Sunday, the Kings at home to Perth and Brisbane travelling to Auckland.