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Kings' 8-point comeback NBL win in Cairns

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/12/2016 Josh Bristow

The Sydney Kings have won the first series of the NBL season, clinching an 86-78 eight-point comeback win over the Taipans in Cairns.

The Snakes needed to win by 10 points on Friday night to clinch their first series win in almost two years and they were playing like it in the early skirmishes.

A fired up Mark Worthington scored 11 points in the first quarter to put his team out to the required 10-point lead.

And they kept pressing, Bamaga big Nate Jawai unleashed a contender for dunk of the season halfway through the third, latching onto a perfect Travis Trice alley-oop, sending the crowd skywards.

But the Taipans again refused to give their fans an easy night, even though at one point they led the NBL's ladder leaders by 15 points.

A run of sloppy fourth-quarter turnovers from Cairns put Sydney back into the contest late and Kings import Greg Whittington finally stole back the lead with a two-handed jam with three minutes remaining.

From there, the Kings showed their class as American centre Josh Powell hit a tough fadeaway jumper and Brad Newley began to rack up rebounds almost at will.

Five Kings players finished with scores in the double digits; Whittington with 14, Lisch had 18, Newley 20, Maric 10 while Powell contributed 17.

Cairns point guard Travis Trice broke his two-game streak of scoring 28-plus points at home with 12, while Worthington ended up as the Snakes' top scorer on 22 points.

The result is the Taipans' second home loss of the season at the Cairns Convention Centre and puts the Kings three games clear of the second-placed Illawarra on the ladder.

Sydney play Melbourne United on Sunday, while the Taipans back up on home turf on Monday night against the Adelaide 36ers.

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