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King Gaze makes history in NBL

AAP logoAAP 30/10/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Rookie coach Andrew Gaze is on track to give the Sydney Kings a shot at the NBL title after leading his team to their second best start in franchise-history.

New NBA recruit Steve Blake racked up 12 points on debut as Gaze's Kings toppled Brisbane 87-78 in Sydney on Sunday to claim their fifth straight win and cement top spot on the ladder.

It is their most successful start to a campaign since legendary coach Brian Goorjian led the Kings on a seven-game winning streak to open their 2002-03 championship-winning season.

Goorjian went on to claim two more titles in a memorable three-peat.

The Kings exacted revenge on the Bullets at Qudos Bank arena with a nine-point victory, just four weeks after losing their only game of the campaign in the season-opener.

They next take on Cairns on Saturday, beginning a tough stretch of four games in eight days.

"Cairns are tough. We played them third game and they were in a position to win. We lost Kevin (Lisch) in that game for the second half. We had to dig deep," Gaze said.

"It's going to be a tough little home and away battle that we've got coming up. We drop all those four and we're back in the middle of the pack, which is not inconceivable.

Gaze is confident of having Lisch back, the reigning MVP and captain ruled out of the Bullets game with a calf strain.

His availability will be huge a fillip for a Kings team forced to play Blake for all but four minutes.

"The rotation I can envisage between Steve, Jason (Cadee) and Kevin, where they're not playing 37, 38 minutes and they can play at a higher intensity and get through that, that'll be better for them as well," Gaze said.

"I think there's a lot to like about our team, but it's very early days yet."

With two-time NBA champion Josh Powell also coming off the bench for the Kings, Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis was envious of the team's ability to spend big on their squad.

Asked of his initial reaction to Blake's signing, he said: "First reaction, they must have lots of money given the other talent they have on the roster.

"Obviously it's a great luxury for the Kings to be able to bring two NBA guys, veteran NBA guys off the bench. Good on them for being able to have the financial resources to do that."

In other games in round four, Cairns finally won their first game of the season with a 83-75 thriller over Melbourne United in their home-opener.

Illawarra broke a four-game losing streak courtesy of a tight 81-76 upset of defending champions Perth, while the New Zealand Breakers scored a franchise-high 119 points in a 26-point rout of Adelaide.

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