Louzada makes his NBA boss take notice

The NBL's last remaining 2019-20 Next Stars player, Didi Louzada, has given his boss at NBA club New Orleans a reminder of his ability, after inching the Sydney Kings closer to the grand final series.

Louzada nailed a clutch three-pointer with just over 40 seconds left to push Sydney ahead after they trailed by 16 points with just over six minutes to go in Saturday's home semi-final series opener against Melbourne.

It was another big play moment from the 20-year-old small forward who has averaged around ten points a game despite injury issues causing him to miss several matches.

Coming off the bench on Saturday he scored eight points in just over 16 minutes in front of Pelicans president David Griffin.

New Orleans picked up the NBA rights to Louzada, who was originally taken by Atlanta, with the 35th pick of the 2019 draft.

Sydney coach Will Weaver believed Griffin, who was part of a crowd of over 13,000 at Qudos Bank Arena, would have been just as impressed by Louzada's defensive hustle, unselfishness and basketball nous as his scoring.

"You've got Didi Louzada who basically changed the energy defensively," Weaver said.

"And special because David Griffin, the president of the Pelicans, here tonight having visited us the past few days.

"The thing that he highlighted was the same thing I loved most.

"Instead of driving in there and forcing it, Didi lays it off for a dunk for Xavier (Cooks), after not having scored for a while.

"It just shows how bright his future is, that his attributes are so positive both above the neck and below the neck."

With Louzada, Craig Moller and Kevin Lisch all back in the rotation after missing a fair chunk of the season, Weaver admits he has some pleasing selection posers.

Veteran and regular starter Brad Newley sparked Sydney in a rare appearance off the bench, scoring 17 points in just over 23 minutes.

Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman praised Newley for changing the pace of the game and Weaver wasn't surprised by the impact his 35-year-old star had off the pine.

"He was a weapon for years and years for (Spanish club) Gran Canaria, known throughout EuroLeague as just the best sixth man on the planet," Weaver said.

Weaver's faith in his team never wavered on Saturday despite their big final quarter deficit.

"The fact the boys stayed with it, the crowd stayed with us, it's reflective of the kind of thing that you hope to build over time, which is a set of people that care a lot and a city that cares a lot," Weaver said.

"When those things align you have a chance to do special stuff."