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Kings down Hawks in NBL

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/10/2016
Josh Powell of the Kings controls the ball next to Michael Holyfield of the Hawks during the match on October 13, 2016 in Wollongong, Australia. © Getty Images Josh Powell of the Kings controls the ball next to Michael Holyfield of the Hawks during the match on October 13, 2016 in Wollongong, Australia.

Reigning NBL MVP Kevin Lisch led the Sydney Kings to a 88-84 win over his former side Illawarra on Friday night at WIN Entertainment Centre. Booed every time he touched the ball, Lisch had the last laugh with 20 points, seven rebounds and two steals in Sydney's first win of the 2016-17 season.

Home grown Sydney boy Jason Cadee poured in 17 of his 20 points in the first half, while two-time NBA champion Josh Powell tallied 14 points and six rebounds in his first game for the Kings.

The Hawks went into the game as favourites but struggled to match their arch rivals' physicality. Compounding Illawarra's loss was a hamstring injury suffered by starting guard Mitch Norton in the opening quarter.Known as one of the NBL's most proficient shooting teams, the Hawks were a dismal four of 23 from long range and missed 10 of 34 free throws.

American guard Marvelle Harris scored a game-high 23 points for Illawarra and Rotnei Clarke added 17. Sydney trailed by one at quarter-time and two at halftime before Powell and Lisch took over and inspired the Kings to a 71-62 lead at three-quarter time.

The Hawks fought back to tie the game before centre Aleks Maric and Brad Newley made clutch free throws in the closing seconds to seal victory - the first for rookie coach Andrew Gaze. The Hawks fly south for a Sunday afternoon duel with winless Melbourne United, while the Kings back up on Saturday night for a home game against the Cairns Taipans.

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