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Hot Kings in big NBL win over Melbourne

NZN 12/11/2016 Darren Snowdon

A final-quarter blitz from the Sydney Kings has propelled them to an 87-71 NBL win over Melbourne United.

Looking to spoil Melbourne basketball legend Andrew Gaze's first visit home as a NBL coach, United kept in touch with the star-studded Sydneysiders on Saturday night for three quarters.

However, guards Kevin Lisch and Jason Cadee then inspired a 24-12 final term to secure the Kings' seventh victory of the season.

The Sydney backcourt duo combined for 10-of-18 shooting from long range, with Lisch scoring 13 fourth-quarter points on the way to a game-high 30, Cadee finishing with 26.

Following key injuries and the release of import Cedric Jackson, Melbourne fought valiantly but could not maintain their offensive efficiency in the second half, the loss leaving them anchored to the bottom of the table.

A balanced United attack opened the match, hitting 10 of 14 shots from the field, but 12 points from Cadee kept the scores level at 29-29 after the first quarter.

Things remained tight until midway through the second quarter when Lisch and Aleks Maric sparked an 11-0 Sydney run, capped by a long bomb from Cadee.

But United guard Kyle Adnam again sparked his side, matching the hot-shooting Cadee with back-to-back triples, with Tai Wesley chipping in to see the home side down by five at halftime.

Melbourne held sway with the visitors throughout the third term before Lisch stepped up a gear in the fourth, consecutive long bombs signalling the end of United's challenge.

Gaze sang the praises of Lisch post-match after the reigning MVP's scoring burst guided the Kings to victory.

"It was just a privilege to sit back and watch," said Gaze. "When I'm watching it, I'm like you. I'm a fan on the sideline.

"That is just an amazing individual performance."

United coach Dean Demopoulos was pleased with the competitiveness of his group despite falling short in the final quarter.

"Hard fought game, I didn't think the score really indicated it," said Demopoulos. "We didn't do very well finishing the game out but they (Sydney) had a lot to do with that.

"Give them credit; they are a nice ball club."

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